The retail environment is forever changing and luxury stores are increasingly challenged to reinvent themselves and titillate shoppers. We've recently learned that Bloomingdale's is the latest department store to revamp its flagship in order to keep up with the competition.
According to insiders, the recharged store will include a gourmet food market, a full floor mega-shoe department and several categories swapping spaces. The first phase of the changes are already complete as the children's department was recently moved from the eighth and ninth floors to the fifth floor. A Mario Batali mini-Eataly concept will soon occupy the former children's department, on the ninth floor.
The new plans call for merging the two separate shoe departments and creating a giant shoe experience on the fifth floor. Currently, shoppers can purchase designer shoes, like Chanel, Dior and Stuart Weitzman, from the fourth floor and contemporary brand shoes, like SJP, Ivanka Trump and Ugg from the second floor.
The home department, which currently shares floor space with the new children's department on the fifth floor, will be moved to the eighth floor.
This isn't the first major renovation in the Bloomingdales timeline. In 2011, the flagship store completed a $50 million renovation that involved rebuilt shops and overhauled departments. The updates included a revamped contemporary sportswear department, additional designers on its fourth floor, an upgraded the bedding department and overall modernized decor to include more open spaces and natural light.
It's not surprising that Bloomingdale's is shifting departments and updating its concept. The luxury retail environment is reaching competitive levels the city has never seen. Bergdorf Goodman, which is only three avenues away, is in the middle of a five year renovation plan that includes a completely revamped first floor and the expansion to the sixth floor to includes modern luxury brands, like The Row, Preen and Tomas Maier. Bergdorfs also recently built out a shoe emporium that spans the majority of the second floor of the luxury store.
Further west, Nordstrom will open a 285,000 square-foot, seven-level flagship store in Columbus Circle, in 2018. There is also increasing competition from downtown retailers like the new-again Chelsea Barneys, Brookfield Place and company owned stand alone boutiques that span the five mile stretch of Madison Avenue.
We are sure that Bloomingdale's new design will be wonderful but wish the store would put more emphasis on customer service. Unfortunately, there always seems to be a lot of employees available but none capable of or willing to assist customers. This, my friends, must be updated too.