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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"We are a little bit focused on the Thirties and Forties," she said, with Deco references, residential elements, parchments, Macasa woods and artwork. "Nowadays, modern still means clean white boxes with slick materials. That's not the kind of modern we want to be about."

Fargo, who is designing the third floor, said it will be unlike any other in the store, and hinted that it will be a little less serious in tone. "We want to make it feel almost like a loft, with a [slight] Japanese aesthetic. The whole outer perimeter will be vendor shops in the language of the vendor, some designed by them," Fargo said.

Interior walls will be leveled, and shops will be separated by transparent curtains, or scrims in ivory bouclé yarn that's nubby and textural. A wood floor will run throughout and [will be] finished in a "symphony of whites and textures," Fargo said. "Everything will be very pale. What will really stand out will be the merchandise. This sounds simple, but it's still with luxury materials, without the classic marble.

"I foresee these floor designs really holding up for at least 10 to 12 years," Fargo added. "It used to be pretty much seven years or so. Often, it depends on the validity or appropriateness of the design."

She described the pace of Bergdorf's renovations as "a pretty consistent clip since we started in 1998," while acknowledging "a lot of starts and stops with the first floor." That's the "entry point" which makes the most impression on the customer, with its Beaux Art chandeliers, custom banquettes and Swiss chalet-like parquet floor, and the one the store had been most sensitive about.

The fifth floor is Bergdorf's most conceptual. "This is a very fashion-forward floor, so the designers will be ever-changing. Therefore, the concept had to be very open and flexible," explained Michael Gabellini, architect of the floor and principal of Gabellini Associates.

He called it "a counterpoint to other floors, without the shop-in-shop format." It conveys "an open marketplace with a beehive of activity" not too unlike where you might buy produce, he said. "Metaphorically, you can equate fashion as fresh fruit, so you are always delivering fresh fruit during the season."

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