Bloomingdale's Dubai sales 'back on track'

Macy's chief says sales rebound after disappointing first year at first overseas store

Macy's Inc chief executive Terry Lundgren has said sales at its Bloomingdale's store in Dubai are "back on track" after first year blues.

He told a group of aspiring fashion industry executives that sales in the first year of the Dubai store, which opened in 2010 as part of a $73m joint venture with Al Tayer Group, were disappointing.

But he added that sales had picked up in the second year of operations, without giving further details, Reuters reported.

He said the department store chain plans to hire about 4,000 full-time employees this year, roughly the same number as last year.

Macy's has about 170,000 full-time employees companywide and operates 850 stores, including some 40 Bloomingdale's stores.

When asked about international expansion, Lundgren said it would take time to expand beyond the Dubai store, but it was something he spends half a day per week working on.

"It's a natural for a Macy's or a Bloomingdale's," Lundgren said of those chains' potential appeal abroad. "It's a matter of when and where."

He said online sales rose 39.6 percent last fiscal year and should top $2bn this year. Macy's will report full-year results on Tuesday.

Macy’s last year launched an online version of its Bloomingdale's store, which now ships to customers in 91 countries worldwide, including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

The retailer is one of a slate of US stores that have expanded their brands into the Gulf, in a bid to tap the region’s wealthy population.

Limited Brands, operator of the Victoria’s Secret chain, and American Eagle Outfitters, are among the US retailers seeking a foothold in Dubai as domestic sales remain subdued.

Dubai is the second-most attractive emerging market for retailers after China, in part because high disposable income, according to management consulting firm AT Kearney.

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