Currently Bloomingdale’s is celebrating its 150th Anniversary. Chairman and CEO Tony Spring spoke recently at the WWD CEO Summit 2022 about his vision for his company. Spring is a true visionary leader and his company will grow in the post-pandemic period.
Speaking about the 150th birthday of Bloomingdale’s he saw the birthday as a great event that he could create excitement by planning – that started 18 months ago – by asking what his team could do to get it right. He knew there would have to be vendor strong participation. One of his ideas was to have a few hundred exclusives throughout the store. They planned to have even the restaurant to participate with special menus. Finally, the best customers were to be invited to special events. Everybody from associates to vendors cooperated and his ideas for the celebration were fulfilled. The plans resonated with customers and the excitement was infectious.
Bloomingdale’s history starts when it was founded by the brothers Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale. They had a vision by going to the Upper East Side when there was nothing there. Bloomingdale’s had the first escalator ever built inside the flagship store. Bloomingdale’s joined Federated Department Stores in 1930. In 2006 even though Macy’s Inc, changed all stores to the Macy’s nameplate, Bloomingdale’s proudly continued to carry its own nameplate.
For the anniversary, Spring also reintroduced many of Bloomingdale’s iconic shopping bags that were created by top designers over the years. The big brown bag had many predecessors.
Tony Spring is looking forward to managing the best Thanksgiving ever. The resident chef, Jordan Andino will be doing some special cooking classes. Bloomingdale’s will support “No Kid Hungry”. He also said the 59th Street flagship store will open its holiday windows on November 17th with “a wonderful performance of Billy Porter.” The guests will be invited into the store after the performance.
Mr. Spring said that “he wants to present the best black dresses and the best leather jackets and the best made boots. He said that you have to step back and look at it from a consumer point of view. “Doing that also helps us with our full price selling and to create a more distinguished assortment versus the competitive landscape.”
Bloomingdale’s has 33 main stores (including the flagship at 59th Street and Lexington Ave in New York City.) It also has 20 off-price stores which feature some of the same fashion brands as the main store. There is also a small Bloomies store that opened in Arlington, VA, and there will be second in Skokie, Il that will open November 17, 2022. and there is a furniture store in Boston.
Spring was asked if being part of a big corporation enables or slows Bloomingdale’s ability to reach new heights, Spring responded “between Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and bluemercury (which also is now owned by Macy’s Inc.) you have 45 million consumers, $25 billion of sales volume, also a billion worth of capital invested in technology, fulfillment buy on-line, pick-up in store, digital experiences and store maintenance. The things that can be bureaucratic are minor compared to the incredible investment and support.
Spring’s outlook for Bloomingdale’s holiday sales is cautiously optimistic. “I feel good about the affluent customer, I still see buying. I see the consumer as being very interested in rewarding themselves, enjoying life. Weddings are on the rise. We will register about 16,000 people this year versus 12,000 in 2019. So, according to Spring, people are into life.
POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Spring’s forecast for the holiday season is encouraging. and likely Bloomingdale’s will be a leader this year. The luxury store, whether in New York or San Francisco is a fashion forward leader with quality merchandise and a vision for the future. His slogan “It’s not a moment, it’s a movement” suggests the unique excitement will continue in the future.