Bloomingdale’s in talks for Abu Dhabi store - report

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US retailer Bloomingdale’s is reportedly in talks to open its second international outlet in Abu Dhabi at the Sowwah Central mall when it opens in 2017.

The upmarket US retailer is looking to expand its footprint in the Middle East after the success of its first store outside the US, which opened in Dubai Mall in 2010, unnamed sources told US trade publication Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).

Bloomingdale’s Dubai is part of a US$73m joint venture between UAE’s Al Tayer Insignia and parent company Macy’s, and CEO Michael Gould told Arabian Business in October 2011 the response had been “terrific”.

“We signed the agreement at the height of the tourism and building in Dubai… When we opened a year and half ago it was not at the bottom but had come off the bottom,” Gould said.

“Meanwhile, we beat our plan for the first year. They just ended their fiscal year three months ago and had a terrific performance and the first quarter of their new year, which just finished in September, has been spectacular,” he added.

Al Tayer Insignia declined to confirm or deny the WWD report when contacted by Arabian Business. "We are not in a position to comment on this report and don’t have anything to share in this matter," a spokesperson said in a statement.

When initially launched three years ago, Gould said Bloomingdale’s had no plans to expand into other overseas market. However, the 150-year-old retailer now believes there could be further opportunities for its growth, Gould said.

“We are not prepared to talk about doing Bloomingdales anywhere else,” he said when asked whether rumours of a Qatar store were true. “[Dubai] was a unique situation and we want to be as successful here as humanly possible.

“I am sure that somewhere down the road someplace or places there will be opportunities for Bloomingdales but the most important thing is to be successful with the brand in Dubai.”

The location for the Abu Dhabi store is reportedly the new AED1bn (US$272m) retail, residential and hotel development launched on Al Maryah Island last month. It is forecast to be completed in early 2017.

The developer behind the project, Gulf Related, has already been linked to high- profile properties in the US, including the Time Warner Center in New York, CityPlace in West Palm Beach and Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, the largest private development in America.

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