Macy’s might follow Bloomingdale’s in the industrywide push to open outlets, a sector surging in popularity among brands, retailers and consumers.
“To me, Bloomingdale’s was the first priority and a natural opportunity,” Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale’s parent Macy’s Inc. told WWD, referring to the retailer’s move into outlets this year.
“The upscale specialty department store group is well known in the outlet centers,” Lundgren added, referring to Nordstrom Rack, Neiman Marcus’ Last Call and Saks Fifth Avenue’s Off 5th chains. “Bloomingdale’s would be a natural addition. There is no plan for Macy’s outlets at the moment. As we learn the business with Bloomingdale’s, it could be something we consider.”
Bloomingdale’s said Thursday it will open its first four fashion outlets this summer or fall, confirming a WWD report on Jan. 13 that the chain was headed toward the lucrative distribution channel. The outlets will be about 25,000 square feet each and will sell apparel, accessories, shoes and jewelry. They are opening in Bergen Town Center, Paramus, N.J.; Dolphin Mall, Miami; Potomac Mills, Woodbridge, Va., and Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, Fla.
“The timing now is right given the consumer’s particular focus on value in addition to fashion and quality,” Lundgren said. “The first Bloomingdale’s Outlet stores will be in excellent, high-traffic locations. Our real estate developer partners have been very supportive and encouraging as we pursued this strategy.”
With only 40 locations, it made more sense to lead with Bloomingdale’s outlets, Lundgren explained. Macy’s has more than 800 locations and would have to be more careful not to cannibalize existing units with outlets, and it’s already price promotional.
Some retail experts questioned why Bloomingdale’s didn’t select more upscale outlet centers such as those operated by Simon Property Group Inc. under the Chelsea Premium Outlet banner. But Lundgren said, “It’s just a matter of finding the right opportunities early on and these were available. Presumably, over time, we will find more locations.”
Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor are accelerating outlet strategies. Coach is considered king of the sector, followed by Ralph Lauren and Phillips-Van Heusen, with its Calvin Klein brand. Bass, Adidas, Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger are among the many players. Burberry has become more active, as has Victoria’s Secret, among others.
“The attitude is changing,” said Marvin Traub, the industry consultant and former Bloomingdale’s chairman. “Retailers now regard outlets as not simply a way of disposing problem merchandise but as an additional way of business like they regard the Internet. Outlets allow retailers to be more disciplined at full price.”
At the Bloomingdale’s Outlets, “A small percentage of the merchandise will come from our stores, but the vast majority will be fresh for the outlets and within the Bloomingdale’s matrix,” said Michael Gould, the retailer’s chairman and ceo. “They will not have any home furnishings in the beginning.” Bloomingdale’s already operates a furniture clearance center in Westchester County, N.Y.
Gould said some West Coast outlets will be considered in the future.
Arnold Orlick, a former Bloomingdale’s executive vice president for home, cosmetics and restaurant operations, who subsequently ran Rich’s and then Fortunoff’s, has rejoined Bloomingdale’s as senior vice president for outlet stores.
Of the four Bloomingdale’s outlets, Gould said only the Bergen Town Center unit is near a regular Bloomingdale’s store a few miles away at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, N.J. How the two coexist will be closely watched, he said, adding he suspects the proximity won’t be an issue. For Bloomingdale’s, “It’s no different from when you look at brands such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Coach,” he said. “They all have outlets, and they’re nothing but positives. Our outlets will be consistent to Bloomingdale’s.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye