By  on October 28, 2005

NEW YORK — A new Parfums Christian Dior space christened Tuesday morning at Bloomingdale's 59th Street is a virtual exclamation point on a series of beauty counter openings that began at the store some 15 months ago.

"There's one last chunk [to go]," said Howard Kreitzman, the retailer's vice president and divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics and fragrances, who was referring to "a few more changes" he expects on the beauty floor by early next year.

"The Golden Gate Bridge takes a year to paint and as soon as they finish, they go back to the other end and start again," he added. "That's sort of like the way it is here." Kreitzman ticked off a laundry list of beauty brands that have opened new counters since the summer of 2004 — Clinique, Chanel, Kiehl's Since 1851, Lancôme, Prescriptives and Shiseido. The two most recent additions are Rodan and Fields and Dior.

Michael Gould, chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale's, noted in comments to Tuesday's foul-weather crowd that the retailer's beauty category is up 12 percent chain-wide year-on-year. With the exception of the New York store, where construction has been prominent on the 59th Street beauty floor, beauty at Bloomingdale's is up 15 percent.

"I'm optimistic about what we've accomplished," said Gould, who pointed to secondary Bobbi Brown and Clinique locations on the store's newly renovated third floor. "Dior is one more example of uplifting the store, separating us from the department store [concept] and truly becoming a specialty store."

Pointing to the multiple aisles in the Dior space, Pamela Baxter, president and ceo of LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics for North America, said, "Fifty-ninth Street is a cacophony of traffic, so you need a lot of spaces to accommodate people."

While executives declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated the roughly 500-square-foot Dior counter could generate $2 million in sales volume during its first year. The brand is carried in about 575 doors in the U.S.

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