Bloomingdale’s Set to Unveil Luxury Arcade

In an overhaul of the main floor furnishings and accessories area at its 59th Street flagship here, the department store is adding leased shops for Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton as it moves to elevate the offering in this category. When they debut in September, the shops will join a refreshed assortment of brands that include Thomas Pink, Turnbull & Asser, Ferragamo, Duchamp and others.

“When we’re done, we believe this will be the best expression of men’s accessories and dress furnishings you’re going to find anywhere,” said David Fisher, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear.

Although the main floor will boast the most significant changes, Bloomingdale’s is also rejiggering the rest of its men’s mix. The majority of the changes are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter, with another series of updates on tap for spring. Men’s accounts for around 20 percent of the company’s $2.8 billion in sales.

Although Bloomingdale’s has had a laser focus on offering bridge merchandise over the past decade, the shift in the furnishings area positions the store squarely in the luxury area. “There are specific markets and stores we believe can handle true luxury product,” said Fisher, noting that brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton will not be carried at all Bloomingdale’s units. “But we are putting Gucci shoes into other doors that we know can sell them, and we’re looking to do the same with Prada.”

Fisher said that, much like women, men are more apt to spend more on their accessories and shoes to update their wardrobes these days, prompting the change in thinking among Bloomingdale’s merchants.

Kevin Harter, vice president and men’s fashion director, said the luxury “arcade” of men’s brands “mirrors” a similar assortment of women’s designer accessory shops that were expanded and revamped on the Lexington Avenue side of the store in late 2010. “Now we’ll have a similar repetition on Third Avenue but for men’s and masculine brands,” said Harter.

In addition, according to Fisher, the men’s area in total has had “incredible growth” over the past few years, justifying the internal investment. “We ended last year very strong and men’s was one of the best performing categories in the store,” he added. “So, we’ve got some grease on the wheel.”

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