Bloomingdale’s is pumping up its top brass to help drive the department store chain’s growth.
Tony Spring has been promoted to president, and Frank Doroff has risen to vice chairman.
An announcement on the executive changes is expected today, but additional management-related appointments to further strengthen the team are anticipated in the near future.
Both executives continue to report to Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer.
“This is building the team for the future,” the 65-year-old Gould told WWD exclusively. “I have no plans to leave.”
The 43-year-old Spring, who has been senior executive vice president and director of stores since 2005, becomes the chain’s second in command. A rising star in the organization, Spring has covered a lot of ground at the retailer, holding jobs in operations, marketing and buying during his 20 years with the chain. In his new position, Spring will be responsible for stores, marketing, creative services, finance, operations and restaurants.
Spring’s promotion, as Gould said in a letter to employees, “ensures that both my short- and long-term focus remains on merchandising and human resource initiatives that are critical to our success.”
General merchandise managers, the senior vice president of planning, public relations, press, philanthropy and human resources continue to report to Gould.
The president’s post had been vacant since Edwin Holman, currently ceo of Macy’s South, left Bloomingdale’s in 2004.
“The Bloomingdale’s brand has enormous potential to grow,” Spring said. “The organization is invigorated by the success we’ve had in new stores, upscale businesses and contemporary brands. The current business climate affords us the opportunity to take market share as a leader in those businesses. Defining Bloomingdale’s as an upscale, fashion-forward retailer has made us a more competitive store.”
Doroff, 59, was senior executive vice president and gmm of ready-to-wear and Bloomingdale’s Direct. His responsibilities remain the same. Bloomingdale’s has been growing its rtw business and building up its stable of designer and contemporary lines in the last few years. E-commerce also is considered a big opportunity and online is the fastest-growing segment of Bloomingdale’s.
Over the past two years, Bloomingdale’s has opened stores in San Francisco; Costa Mesa, Calif.; San Diego; Chevy Chase, Md., and Chestnut Hill, Mass. With each opening, the retailer has demonstrated a willingness to try new formats, including designer shops, restaurants and innovative facades, and to adapt to units in a range of sizes.
On Tuesday, Karen Hoguet, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Bloomingdale’s parent Macy’s Inc., said the chain still has plenty of room to grow in the U.S. The retailer will open a store in north Phoenix next year. The brand is noticeably absent from the Texas and Pacific Northwest markets. Hawaii is another possibility, and store executives have visited China with an eye for expansion there, as well. Overseas expansion isn’t a new notion. Sixteen years ago, Bloomingdale’s almost inked a deal for a store in Japan, licensed to Tokyu Department Stores, but a severe recession in the country killed the plan.
Renovations also have been stepped up, with major overhauls completed at the White Plains, N.Y., and Aventura, Fla., units in 2007, and set for this year, at the Roosevelt Field, N.Y., and Sherman Oaks, Calif., branches.
“As Bloomingdale’s grows its presence nationally, the addition of an operating principal will provide the division with additional management resources and support,” said Macy’s Inc. vice chair Susan D. Kronick, to whom Bloomingdale’s reports. “Tony Spring is an exceptional executive who has proven himself to be resourceful and creative in supporting growth of the Bloomingdale’s brand. He and Mike Gould will represent a powerful principal team as Bloomingdale’s continues to build its market presence serving the needs of fashion-forward, upscale customers coast-to-coast.”
Bloomingdale’s is on a path to crack $3 billion in sales within the next few years. It’s estimated that 2007 volume is $2.6 billion. Of that, roughly $900 million, or just more than a third of the total store volume, is in rtw, according to market sources. Bloomingdale’s rtw business includes designer sportswear, contemporary sportswear (known as Y.E.S.), New View (a mix of designer and bridge brands), classic sportswear, dresses, coats and special sizes.
“The ready-to-wear business is growing, though the rate of growth has slowed somewhat in this economy,” Doroff said.
Bloomingdale’s also has been enhancing its image by increasing its stable of designer and upscale labels over the last few years. “Our average unit retail has been growing 8 to 10 percent each season,” Doroff noted.
Among the labels recently added are Lisa Perry, who designs Sixties-inspired dresses and shifts retailing for $1,000, and Helmut Lang. Doroff added that Bloomingdale’s contemporary business remains “the backbone” of rtw. “We had a very good year with Juicy Couture,” he said, also citing Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, James Perse, Nanette Lepore, Milly and premium denim.
There has not been a vice chairman at Bloomingdale’s since 1991, when Lester Gribetz held the title.
Unlike Spring, Doroff has long been a merchant. He began his career in 1972 as an executive trainee with Macy’s and quickly ascended the ranks to senior vice president and general merchandise manager for rtw in 1979. From 1983 to 1988, he was a top merchant at Bullock’s, which eventually merged into Macy’s. Subsequently, he was chairman of Federated and Allied Merchandising Services, and chairman of Bonwit Teller. He joined Bloomingdale’s in 1991 as executive vice president and gmm for rtw, fashion accessories and intimate apparel.
Spring began his career at Bloomingdale’s in 1987 as an executive trainee in the White Plains store and went on to buying positions in home furnishings. In 1995, he was promoted to senior vice president for home furnishings, and two years later became senior vice president of marketing. He was elevated to executive vice president, added the direct businesses and restaurants to his responsibilities and rose to senior executive vice president before assuming his most recent post.