Bloomingdale’s will reveal a new format inside a handful of its stores next month, vying to be more experiential and present products and themes not necessarily expected from the department store.
According to sources, the format is currently under construction at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship in Manhattan and a few other stores on the East and West Coasts.
One source said the concept will be called The Carousel@Bloomingdale’s, and that it will operate like a pop-up that changes its merchandise theme every two months.
The concept appears to be inspired by Story, the 2,000-square-foot store on Manhattan’s West Side that changes its merchandise theme every four to eight weeks and was purchased by Macy’s Inc. last May. Macy’s Inc. operates the Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Blue Mercury stores.
Rachel Shechtman, founder of Story, was brought into Macy’s management as chief brand experience officer. It’s not clear whether Shechtman is playing a role in developing Carousel at Bloomingdale’s, but Macy’s officials have told WWD that a strategy for expanding Story is under development.
Officials at Bloomingdale’s were not available to comment on Carousel.
The source described the format as high-tech, highly visual and “immersive” for customers, with events being programmed. Categories and products that Bloomingdale’s doesn’t normally carry, such as in technology, food and beverage, are likely to be featured.
New and emerging designers could be part of the platform, too.
One idea said to be in the works is themed around urban outfits designed with utilitarian components for the city lifestyle.
Carousel is another sign that Macy’s Inc. is striving to increase its relevancy and build a culture of innovation. The Macy’s division will launch its first “watch drop” on Sept. 5, with limited-edition timepieces, either reissued or updated, as well as some vintage and retro styles to be introduced each Wednesday from Sept. 5 to Oct. 24 and on Nov. 14 and Nov. 21.
In other innovations, Macy’s continues to open Backstage offprice departments inside its stores. It also recently unveiled The Market @ Macy’s, which features a group of pop-up shops where vendors paid a fee to participate, and an investment in B8ta, a startup that helps technology brands build out physical stores that provides back-end support for the Market @ Macy’s. Macy’s has also been rolling out open-sell displays in certain categories, and “At Your Service” counters where you can pick up online orders, return online or store purchases, and buy gift cards and pay bills.
With Carousel, Bloomingdale’s elevates an aura of discovery which for decades it was known for because of the big import promotions, featuring products from different countries, it staged each fall.
Carousel is being put together on the north side of the Bloomingdale’s 59th Street store, as well as at a few other Bloomingdale’s locations. It will also be featured online. Bloomingdale’s currently operates 38 department stores, 17 outlets and bloomingdales.com.