Bloomingdale’s mulls new overseas store openings

CEO of US retailer says ‘will be opportunities’ for luxury brand after Dubai success
Bloomingdale’s mulls new overseas store openings
The store beat its earnings forecast for the first year, said CEO Michael Gould
By Shane McGinley
Wed 19 Oct 2011 11:57 AM

US luxury retail giant Bloomingdale’s has not ruled out
opening more overseas stores in the wake of the “terrific performance” of its
first outlet in Dubai, the company’s CEO said.

The Dubai store, Bloomingdale’s first venture outside its
domestic US market, opened in 2010 as part of a $73m joint venture between the
retailer’s parent companyMacy’s and Al Tayer Group.

“We signed the agreement at the height of the tourism and
building in Dubai,” said CEO Michael Gould. When we opened a year and half ago
[the economy]… had come off the bottom.”

The store beat its earnings forecast for the first year,
Gould said, without specifying numbers.

“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.”

At the launch of the store in February, 2010, Gould said
Bloomingdale’s had no plans to expand into other overseas market. But 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 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. Retail accounts for 30 percent of gross domestic product in the
emirate, home to about 40 shopping malls, Standard Chartered Bank estimates.

Gould
attributed an element of Bloomingdale’s Dubai’s success to its US-style
advertising campaigns, which include full-scale events and elaborate window
displays.

[Bloomingdale's brings New York flavour to Dubai - click for images]

The
store’s ‘New York, New York’ campaign, launched in September to mark the start
of its fall/winter collection, featured Big Apple-themed products, live promotions
and a 4m-tall King Kong installation. Hollywood actress Eva Longoria was flown
into Dubai to launch the six-week campaign.

“An
event like this gives the store a lot of energy,” Gould says. “The folks in
Dubai have done a great job, they are learning all the time and the difference
between the store today and when I saw them six months ago is enormous.”

Macy’s,
Bloomingdale’s parent company, announced in June that Arab shoppers could order
goods directly from the store under a deal signed by the retailer with an
overseas shipment firm.

The
agreement allows Macy's to serve 91 countries worldwide, including Egypt,
Jordan and the six Gulf states.

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