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Revamping Bergdorf's: Store Steps Up Program To Build Sales to $500M

The ambitious remodeling process at Bergdorf Goodman continues, as it strives to grow revenues to at least $500 million a year.

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Meanwhile, the fifth floor, called 5F and showcasing contemporary sportswear, shoes, accessories and denim, is 75 percent complete and should be done by December. Key labels are Catherine Malandrino, Tracy Reese and Tory Burch. A Jar fragrance boutique on the beauty floor opened last month, retailing from $300 to $700 a bottle, and in the men's store, a Zegna boutique opened in August and further renovations are planned.

Bergdorf's mission has been to bring individuality and greater merchandising control to the floors, which average 25,000 square feet each, and emphasize categories heretofore underplayed, such as contemporary sportswear.

It's also about elevating already high productivity, attracting new customers without alienating the regulars and improving a tricky layout. Bergdorf's has long been difficult to navigate with its series of rooms, chambers and bends that often concealed what's just ahead.

The 150,000-square-foot women's store, along with the 45,000-square-foot men's store on the opposite side of Fifth Avenue and the direct businesses, generated a combined sales volume that sources estimated at $400 million for the firm's fiscal year ended July 30. The company does not disclose volume, but did say Bergdorf's posted a 14.5 percent sales gain for the year.

While spreading its reach by emphasizing a wider range of categories, Bergdorf's women's store remains well within its comfort zone, maintaining a level of luxury that's unmatched by any big store in the city. Along with the updating, classic elements, Art Deco references and residential touches are retained in many sections. While the remodeled Bergdorf's still showcases established designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Chanel and J.Mendel — the store's meat and potatoes for decades — it puts a greater emphasis on newer and avant garde creators such as Vera Wang and Yohji Yamamoto, which the store hasn't historically embraced.

A year ago, Bergdorf's brought in Gold, a former Neiman Marcus senior vice president and general merchandise manager, to head up the store, representing for him a career leap. These latest renovations are his first major impressions on the store, and he's had to sign off on certain aspects, including the third floor, which will be radically altered.

Others joining the team earlier this year were Ed Burstell, former general manager of Henri Bendel, who became senior vice president and gmm for footwear, cosmetics, fine and fashion jewelry, handbags and soft accessories, and former Neiman's executive Ginny Hershey, who serves as Bergdorf's senior vice president for women's.

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