By  on June 26, 2011

NEW YORK — Macys.com and bloomingdales.com are going global, joining the wave of U.S. retailers that began taking orders online from international customers in the last few years.

Today, macys.com and bloomingdales.com start to accept online orders from 91 countries. Both stores had been conducting pilot programs in the last month, shipping to customers in the U.K., Canada and Australia. Now the distribution widens to countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

“Bloomingdale’s already attracts international customers and introducing a program that allows for international shipping will intensify the reputation and presence of our company abroad,” said Bruce Berman, Bloomingdale’s president of direct and chief financial officer.

“Last year, macys.com had 36 million visits from people outside the U.S. They could browse but couldn’t shop. Now they are able to do that, in their own currency. All shipping costs, import tariffs and taxes are up front. Customers will know the total amount and can pay it with one transaction,” said Macy’s spokesman Orlando Veras.

Macy’s Inc. chairman, chief executive officer and president Terry J. Lundgren has previously expressed confidence that the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s nameplates and merchandise resonate globally, and that international stores, beyond the Bloomingdale’s opened last year in Dubai, are possible.

Shipping online orders overseas is a growing trend among U.S. stores, particularly those having high tourist traffic.

In 2009, saks.com and nordstrom.com began shipping to multiple countries. Last month, barneys.com started shipping to 90 countries including Canada, South Korea, the U.K., Australia and China, from just the U.S. at the beginning of the year.

The bulk of the apparel, accessories and home furnishings at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s will be offered internationally, though electronics, beauty, fragrances and large items such as furniture won’t be distributed due to laws, electricity standards and global vendor partnership restrictions. Macy’s Inc. has already been expanding its warehousing capability to accommodate growing online orders. For the overseas Web expansion, the company partnered with FiftyOne Global Ecommerce, which does currency conversions and provides online shoppers with their final price tags, with tariffs included. Barneys, Nordstrom and Saks also partnered with FiftyOne.

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