Bloomingdale’s may need to stock up on little brown bags.
The luxury department chain announced Wednesday that it will open the first location of its new, smaller, concept store, Bloomie’s, August 26 in Fairfax, Virgina.
The new location will be a “highly curated, ever-evolving store concept” offering men’s and women’s apparel, shoes and accessories as well as skincare and beauty products. While Bloomie’s will carry Bloomingdales’ usual luxury brands, including Gucci, Dior and Prada, it also plans to sell “emerging labels” that customers “need to know.”
Some nicknames are better than others, and for Bloomingdale’s the nickname Bloomie’s seems to have stuck.
“Bloomie’s has always been a term of affection from our loyal customers. Our new Bloomie’s store will deliver everything they love about Bloomingdale’s in a highly edited, convenient, and unexpected way,” Tony Spring, Bloomingdale’s CEO, said in a press release.
At 22,000 square feet, Bloomie’s will be much smaller than a typical 200,000 square foot Bloomingdale’s location. Located in the Mosaic District, the store will also house Colada Shop, a local DC restaurant, which will serve its full menu of cocktails, coffee and Cuban food, so shoppers can enjoy a snack while they shop.
Bloomies’ launch comes at a time when retailers – particularly traditional department stores – are desperate for shoppers. While stimulus checks brought a wave of shopping and increased sales, after the latest round of checks were exhausted, retailers saw a decline in sales in May.
Even before the pandemic though, Bloomingdales’ owner, Macy’s (M), struggled with sales and shuttered dozens of stores, including one Bloomindale’s store. Once the pandemic hit, Macy’s (M) furloughed the majority of its 125,000 workers and eventually laid off nearly 3% of its workforce after losing around $1 billion in a matter of weeks.
The new concept also reflects a growing effort for traditional brick-and-mortar stores to stay competitive in a highly digitized world. In 2017, Nordstrom launched Nordstrom Local, smaller hubs that don’t sell any inventory but offer customers access to services like alterations and returns.
Like Nordstrom Local, Bloomie’s will also focus on service and convenience, offering customers a returns dropbox, the option to buy online and pickup in-store or curbside and access to stylists and alteration services. The store will also focus on “innovation” with new features to enhance the customer experience including tech-enabled fitting rooms.
Bloomingdale’s is unable to share plans for future stores, but it is confident in the new model and plans to base future plans off of customer reactions to the first Bloomie’s.