Bloomingdale’s new store in Norwalk, Conn., is a balancing act.
“What you get in Norwalk is a nice slice of Bloomingdale’s that has been appropriately curated for the community,” said Tony Spring, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer.
“It’s a little more casual, though we are still committed to how people can add a third piece to dress up their wardrobe. You will still see brands like Canali and Paul Smith but it’s really continuing on our strategy to showcase Bloomingdale’s as the best marketplace for advanced contemporary, contemporary, designer and the more narrowly distributed aspirational brands.
“There’s also a great assortment of T-shirts and activewear, and outerwear is an important aspect considering Norwalk’s Northeastern positioning.”
Opened Nov. 14 at The SoNo Collection shopping center, Bloomingdale’s Norwalk is a three-level, 150,000 square-foot space selling fashion, beauty and home. It’s the upscale department store’s first new full-line store since the Honolulu opening in 2015.
Asked why Norwalk was chosen for expansion, Spring said, “It fills out our market omni strategy to go into key markets where there hasn’t been a Bloomingdale’s representation. Our closest store would be White Plains, a half hour or more away and then you would have to go to our Chestnut Hill store near Boston. Certainly, we are an international brand but we are well known in the Northeast and to not have a store from White Plains to Boston felt like there was an opportunity.”
Being a suburban market, Spring sees the home department, which occupies two thirds of the third floor, as a winner. “People in the area have big homes. They like to entertain. There is the opportunity for a lot of the key categories and businesses highlighted in the store — textiles, the registry.…Home has been an important business for Bloomingdale’s over the history of the brand. It’s an important part of what distinguishes us and it has been a healthy part of the business. It embodies the upscale and contemporary nature of the brand.”
Executives said there’s a balance between tailoring the merchandise, marketing and philanthropic efforts to the community, while sticking to the brand DNA.
“The ‘Hey Norwalk, Meet Bloomingdale’s’ campaign is geared to build a familial relationship with the community,” said Frank Berman, Bloomingdale’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “It has a conversational tone meant to introduce new shoppers in the Connecticut area to the Bloomingdale’s brand and excite those that are already familiar with us.”
The main floor houses fashion accessories, men’s, luggage, cosmetics and fragrances with La Mer, Chanel, Tom Ford, Armani Privé, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Charlotte Tilbury, among other brands, and two spa rooms for makeovers.
Handbags include Longchamp, Michael Kors, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tory Burch. Fine jewelry offers include Lagos, Gucci and Roberto Coin, and luggage labels include Rimowa and Tumi. There are also sunglasses from Oliver Peoples, Persol, Saint Laurent and Burberry.
Men’s wear features Polo Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Barbour and Canali, among other labels. Shoes, activewear, outerwear and fragrances are also sold.
The second floor houses ready-to-wear, coats, intimate apparel and women’s shoes including such labels as Theory, Zadig & Voltaire, Sandro, Maje, Ted Baker, Rag & Bone, Frame and J Brand, Adidas by Stella McCartney and Canada Goose.
On the third floor, there’s the home department with furniture, decor, bath, bedding and kitchen products. The floor also sells children’s apparel, outerwear, baby gifting and strollers. Home labels include Sferra, Frette, Kluft, Matouk, Baccarat, Villeroy & Boch, Lenox and Waterford, Le Creuset, All-Clad and Nespresso.
The interior design features the brand’s signature black-and-white checkerboard flooring with concrete tiles and accented with decorative tiles.
Among the Norwalk store’s other offerings and services:
• Private brands Aqua, LINI and Hudson Park.
• Stylists to “agnostically” guide shoppers through different brands within the fashion and home assortments.
• A furniture design room where customers can lay out fabrics and samples for a customized approach.
• A wedding registry; alterations; personal shoppers, a buy-online-pick-up-in-store station.
• The Carousel, Bloomingdale’s rotating pop-up shop concept.
• A Central Perk set inspired by the television show “Friends” where shoppers can reminisce on the series and shop the Ralph Lauren wear-to-work collection seen on the show.
Philanthropic efforts support the JDF, Person-to-Person, Stepping Stones Museum for Children and OPUS organizations.
“We are very focused on the idea of community and localization and really trying to think through how to assort, ‘event,’ and present most appropriately,” said Spring. “If that’s Boston, it’s about understanding this intersection between the Red Sox and the culture of the community or what’s important from a social scene. We have shown we can celebrate the Cubs in Chicago and the Dodgers in L.A.
“We never want to try to impose New York on another community. We have to temper the New York influence, the good aspects — the pace, the energy, the fashion community, the financial community — which can influence our total organization. But it should never be as obvious to me if I am living in Boca Raton, Fla., that this is a New York store.”