By  on September 21, 2011

NEW YORK — Bloomingdale’s has a new sweet spot.

The Magnolia Bakery inside Bloomingdale’s 59th Street sold 1,200 of its $3 classic cupcakes — topped with vanilla or chocolate butter cream icing — Sept. 16 through Sept. 18, the first three days in business.

The red velvet cupcakes, priced $3.50, were the second-most popular item, and the banana pudding was another bestseller.

Situated on the Third Avenue side of the flagship, the 850-square-foot leased Magnolia Bakery operates seven days a week, before, during and after store hours, and has access from inside and outside the store. Magnolia’s complete menu of baked goods, including breakfast muffins, cakes, pies, cookies, cheesecakes, pudding and Magnolia Blend Coffees and Harney Teas, is offered.

“This is a big deal — a very big deal for us,” said Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer.

It’s also a vindication of Bloomingdale’s strategy to “reach out to great brand names in the food business,” Gould said. “We are looking at a number of other things now to further develop relationships in the food business.…Certainly in this building, there’s enormous opportunity for more food. I think it’s been underplayed.”

It’s also possible Bloomingdale’s opens additional Magnolia bakeries at other locations, though Gould said more time is required to monitor the bakery’s performance. Bloomingdale’s has one other Magnolia Bakery operating, inside its store in Dubai.

He suggested department stores across the U.S. generally don’t see the potential to sell more food or don’t want to bother. “In London and Berlin, food takes a more impactful place,” Gould noted. But Bloomingdale’s has been seizing the opportunity, adding culinary options in recent years such as David Burke and Flip for hamburgers at the flagship, which also operates Forty Carrots, Le Train Blue and B Cafe. Charlie Palmer operates in Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa, Calif., and there’s Daikanyama, a Japanese restaurant, in Bloomingdale’s Chestnut Hill, Mass., store.

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