By and and  on August 14, 2009

Amid the nation’s deepest slump since The Great Depression, Bloomingdale’s has come up with a bold response — rebuilding the entire 60,000-square-foot main floor of the Manhattan flagship.

The department store is just two months from completing the project and unleashing a barrage of advertising and events touting 59th Street as “the biggest makeover in NYC.” There will be 525 events in cosmetics alone through December.

According to sources, the renovation cost $45 million to $55 million including vendor contributions, and vendors are hoping for 10 to 20 percent sales gains as a result.

“It’s a game-changer,” said Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer. “When you see all of the new installations, it will blow your socks off. Every solitary resource has a new shop. It’s like a brand-new store.”

The main floor includes beauty, fragrance, designer handbags and leather goods, fine and costume jewelry, fashion accessories, watches, sunglasses, men’s dress shirts, furnishings and ties. The floor will officially be launched Oct. 15.

“This is the culmination of the biggest renovation in the history of 59th Street,” added Jack Hruska, executive vice president of creative services, store design and visual merchandising.

The master plan for the flagship, an effort to elevate productivity and amplify the energy of Bloomingdale’s while enabling brands to project their images as well, started in 2004 with the renovation of contemporary sportswear on the second level. In the years that followed, the New View bridge floor on three, intimate apparel on two, shoes on four, dresses and coats on five, men’s contemporary on the metro level, as well the furniture, rug and mattresses departments, were all renovated. On the main floor this year, the fragrance department, a three-level Louis Vuitton shop and areas for jewelry and handbags were all completed and, within about a week, the lower level for men’s is expected to be finished.

Overall, the renovation retains the B’way for beauty, as well as the A’way for accessories, but otherwise it’s a total transformation that introduces a host of brands new to the store, as well as unique shop concepts.

At the core is a three-hall beauty complex with soaring walls for vendor installations, wider aisles and an easier traffic flow like a grid, instead of the old congested and truncated configuration.

Hruska and Francine Klein, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of accessories, cosmetics and fine jewelry, came up with the idea to construct the high walls.


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