NEW YORK — Bloomingdale’s is upping the luxury ante in its men’s department for fall.
In an overhaul of the main floor furnishings and accessories area at its 59th Street flagship here, the department store is adding leased shops for Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton as it moves to elevate the offering in this category. When they debut in September, the shops will join a refreshed assortment of brands that include Thomas Pink, Turnbull & Asser, Ferragamo, Duchamp and others.
“When we’re done, we believe this will be the best expression of men’s accessories and dress furnishings you’re going to find anywhere,” said David Fisher, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear.
Although the main floor will boast the most significant changes, Bloomingdale’s is also rejiggering the rest of its men’s mix. The majority of the changes are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter, with another series of updates on tap for spring. Men’s accounts for around 20 percent of the company’s $2.8 billion in sales.
Although Bloomingdale’s has had a laser focus on offering bridge merchandise over the past decade, the shift in the furnishings area positions the store squarely in the luxury area. “There are specific markets and stores we believe can handle true luxury product,” said Fisher, noting that brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton will not be carried at all Bloomingdale’s units. “But we are putting Gucci shoes into other doors that we know can sell them, and we’re looking to do the same with Prada.”
Fisher said that, much like women, men are more apt to spend more on their accessories and shoes to update their wardrobes these days, prompting the change in thinking among Bloomingdale’s merchants.
Kevin Harter, vice president and men’s fashion director, said the luxury “arcade” of men’s brands “mirrors” a similar assortment of women’s designer accessory shops that were expanded and revamped on the Lexington Avenue side of the store in late 2010. “Now we’ll have a similar repetition on Third Avenue but for men’s and masculine brands,” said Harter.
In addition, according to Fisher, the men’s area in total has had “incredible growth” over the past few years, justifying the internal investment. “We ended last year very strong and men’s was one of the best performing categories in the store,” he added. “So, we’ve got some grease on the wheel.”
Men’s spans around 9,000 square feet on the main floor and about one-third of the space will be new shops and/or vendors.
Walking into the store from Third Avenue, shoppers will first see a new 570-square-foot Gucci shop that will carry dress furnishings, accessories, small leather goods and shoes.
Next to that will be the first Louis Vuitton men’s accessories shop in the U.S. The 1,100-square-foot boutique will offer a wide range of accessories, dress furnishings and shoes.
Also new will be an 800-square-foot Prada shop that will carry the brand’s accessories, dress furnishings, cuff links and other products.
Across the way from Vuitton is a new Thomas Pink shop that features the brand’s new design concept that made its debut in Washington, D.C., last spring. There is a White Shirt Bar and capacity for some 800 shirts. It also offers ties, cuff links and other accessories. This shop is next to Turnbull & Asser, which has been part of the mix for the past two years.
Fisher said that by adding Thomas Pink, it allows the store to appeal to a wider range of shoppers. Thomas Pink’s shirts average $180 to $225, while Turnbull & Asser shirts retail for $280 to $325. “And both businesses are doing extremely well,” he said.
Other brands in the furnishings row include Montblanc and Burberry, who will spiff up their existing locations by the floor’s completion in November.
Harter said by the end of August, the store will also add a “tech shop” called Power On, in partnership with GQ, where its editors have chosen the best electronic gadgets. “It will enhance the mix and add some fun,” he said.
To make room for all these new shops, classifications furnishings are moving down to the lower level. The store is creating a “U” with a varied assortment of dress shirts and neckwear. The mix will range from Eton and Armani to Theory and Ike Behar, and will be located near the beginning of the tailored clothing presentation and adjacent to shoes. “It will bring an adjacency with tailored clothing and might be a gain in the long run,” he said. Nearby will be the Gucci shoe presentation as well as Ferragamo, which is redoing its shoe shop so it’s “more special,” he said.
Above and beyond furnishings, Bloomingdale’s is shining a spotlight on other categories as well, including contemporary brands. A new Theory shop in the midlevel’s Lab department was recently installed and boasts a “linear” presentation with shirts, pants and other similar products hanging together in order to promote multiunit purchasing. “It’s more like the way a woman shops,” Fisher said.
Coming in shortly will be The Kooples, a “hot new contemporary line from Paris” that will have its U.S. debut exclusively at Bloomingdale’s for fall, Harter said. “We’re opening with five doors for women and two for men — here and SoHo,” he said, adding that the company expects to expand the collection to the West Coast as well.
Another French line, Sandro, is also exclusive to Bloomingdale’s within the department store arena and has been performing well since its introduction in December. Harter said the plan is to add the brand in San Francisco and other branches.
Also coming for fall is an expanded presentation of Hugo Boss Red Label that will offer suits, sport coats and dress furnishings. Ralph Lauren’s RLX line, currently in a soft shop in that area, is being incorporated into the company’s large shop with other Ralph Lauren merchandise, and that space will be taken over by Vince. Marc by Marc Jacobs will also get a shop on the midlevel in the department. Psycho Bunny and Fred Perry will be relocated and a Massif soft shop will be installed.
“The contemporary store will be very pure,” said Harter.
Another new addition will be a Ted Baker shop that will be installed next to the store’s At His Service department. The line is currently carried in 15 stores, Fisher said, and has been an “extraordinary” performer. He doesn’t expect an impact from the Fifth Avenue flagship the brand opened today on 48th Street.
Another new addition for the fourth quarter will be Robert Graham. “All it does is sell,” said Harter.
In tailored clothing, the store is adding Hickey Freeman as well as the first Hardy Amies shop in the U.S. These brands will be located next to a revamped formalwear department and adjacent to classification clothing. “The tailored clothing will be rearranged and adjacent to shirts and ties.”
The existing Armani shop will add more shirts, ties and accessories and “drop in some fixtures for more exposure,” Fisher said.
The Billy Reid shop will be relocated and a new Moncler shop will be put in its place. Billy Reid will be installing a new concept shop and Ovadia & Sons will move and their spot will be taken over by a new DSquared2 concept shop.
Although the team is not ready to tip its hand yet about changes in store for spring, Fisher said to expect additional changes early next year that will include new brands and presentations.
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