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Bloomingdale's Shows Off Home Power

New Venues on Both Coasts Feature In-Depth Merchandising

Bloomingdale's planted its West Coast flagship in the heart of San Francisco last week, just days after unveiling a massive new home department at its Riverside Square Mall location in Hackensack, N.J.

The new California store is located in the former Emporium building, adjacent to the new Westgate Mall on Market Street. The 337,000-square-foot store is Bloomingdale's second largest (59th Street, New York is No. 1) and serves as the retailer's “definitive West Coast flagship store,” according to Charles Anderson, regional vp for the West and Midwest.

Comparing the two, senior vp/gmm, home furnishings Joe Laneve pointed out that in New Jersey, “It's a customer we've had for many years.” In the new San Francisco market, he noted, “We don't think the customer is as traditional.”

And neither is the merchandising of the home textiles department.

Home is located on the lower level of the five-story location. The textiles area boasts 40 beds (the norm, except at 59th Street flagship, is 35 beds). The exclusive Barbara Barry bedding collection leads into the department, which is largely assortment by design sensibility, rather than by brand.

Barry's bedding is flanked by a wall of Charisma solid color sheets. The area flows through to beds by Josie Natori. Around the periphery of the area are beds from Charisma, L'Erbe, Royal Sateen, and Donna Karan.

A second squared-off area of the floor displays beds from Michael Kors, Dwell, Calvin Klein, and Hudson Park, among others. Ralph Lauren's bedding is positioned on the back wall in an open configuration that makes it more accessible than the walled-off shop concept found at Bloomie's 59th Street unit.

“The thing that separates Bloomingdale's home store is the effort toward upscale, quality fashion merchandise,” Laneve said.

Pratesi also rates its own department. And the Sferra department represents “probably the finest assortment of Sferra we have in the country,” said Laneve. “We really went after this.”

The home textiles area is relatively tight, making way for a vast assortment of tabletop as well as high-end, exclusively designed accent pieces. Bloomingdale's president Michael Gould considers china and crystal to be the home-store equivalent of designer sportswear in the apparel division, Laneve indicated.

“This is where we really mix it up with Neiman Marcus,” Laneve added with a grin.

Conversely, the home textiles area in Bergen County, New Jersey is expansive. The new 75,000-square-foot addition to Bloomingdale's existing store in the upscale mall pulls together product categories that had been scattered throughout apparel and accessories.

Despite the atomized nature of the previous set-up, “Home did good volume” in what is an “A” store location, Laneve said during the mid-September opening there.

The new space allows Bloomingdales to truly showcase the merchandise, which features exclusives in luxury bed and bath, tabletop, housewares, furniture, and rugs. Laneve believes that contemporary will get a particular boost in the new setting, because the old layout had a dark floor that didn't show it off very well.

“This is a big traditional market, but I think we can do a good business in contemporary here, too,” he said.

The home textiles department is located on the second floor, adjacent to women's ready-to-wear. Entering the department at that location, shoppers are flanked by beds dressed in Court of Versailles, Charisma, Waterford and other premium labels.

The department features the exclusive Michael Kors line as well as L'Erbe, Pratesi, Frette, Barbara Barry and the designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren. Here, too, the Lauren department has been shorn of its walls and reduced in depth to “open it up” to the customer.

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