Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bloomingdale's Coming to Winnipeg?

Bloomingdale's Coming to Winnipeg?

The Globe and Mail reported this week that luxury retailer Blomingdale's is in the final stage of talks with The Bay to come to Canada. There is no doubt that The Bay is trying to position itself well before other major retailers like Nordstrom's arrives.

There are three Bays in Winnipeg in Polo Park, St. Vital and downtown. It is the downtown stores that The Bay are trying to shore up first. To that end, it is Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver stores that get some form of Bay and Bloomingdale's combo.

After that, the concept is supposed to be rolled out across the country in boutique style. How much space this takes up in a store or how many stores is anyone's guess.

There is empty space in the downtown Bay so could we be looking at Bloomingdale's there?


The View from Seven said...

Seems to me that St. Vital would be the most promising location, as that has set itself apart as the "high income" mall in Winnipeg.

The downtown store has the inexpensive space to spare, but the wrong shopper demographic. The space would be better suited to a discounter.

mrchristian said...

So would this be a sort of Simpsons-Sears thing or a Bloomingdale's section of The Bay.

John Dobbin said...

Seven: Or Polo Park. That mall has been trying to attract posher stores while sending others out of the mall.

Mr. C: My impression was that it would be a section of the Bay.

The need for speed seems imperative with Target changing stores over in the next 12 months and Kohl's and Nordstrom's in serious moves to be in place within 24 months.

Anonymous said...

What is taking Target so long? We got their announcement quite some time ago.

John Dobbin said...

Anon: Target bought the leases for Zellers locations and didn't buy the warehouses or logistical support.

They have had to build that from the ground up with deals like they did with Sobey's to supply groceries for Target.

Many Zellers locations including in Winnipeg have sent in plans for makeovers on store that are being approved now and will take place with Zellers liqidating stock in the fall through till Christmas.

Target should have stores branded by march of 2013.

Xtoval said...

Bloomingdale's is not a high end retailer. Pretty mid-market. Its New York store reminds me of Eaton's back in the day, kind of crowded, lots of stuff, trying to appeal to many demographics. A good place to buy sheets and bedding. It doesn't have the elan of a Barneys or Bergdorf or even Saks. And they can only sell what Winnipeggers would buy. If Holt Renfrew were coming back to Winnipeg, that would be newsworthy. A Bloomingdale's boutique in the Bay would be truly inconsequential. Even the wives of the Jets wouldn't get excited by it.

John Dobbin said...

Xtoval: I can say I am not a big expert in high fashion. I do know that retail analysts list Bloomingdale's up there with competitors like: Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom.

Holt Renfrew continues to operate a stripped down version of their store in Portage Place. I had wondered in the last two years whether they might move to the new stadium site by Polo Park given the opportunity.

One Man Committee said...

I'm with xtoval on this one - Bloomingdale's is really not that much different from The Bay in terms of price point and demographic served. I'm not sure exactly what HBC would be trying to do by adding small Bloomingdale's boutiques in their stores other than creating brand confusion. The type of stuff Bloomingdale's sells is for the most part already readily available in Winnipeg.

As for luxury retailers, even if they do open up in Winnipeg I have to wonder how long they would last. I get the impression that the demographic spending money on Holt's-quality stuff is used to spending money in larger cities and online, where the prices and selection are much better than they would be at what would probably end up being a smallish, rinky-dink Holt's location like the last one was.

John Dobbin said...

OMC: You could be right. I am not quite sure what the price point Winnipeg shoppers will not go past.

Kind of interesting though that the Free Press and CJOB are talking about it today for Winnipeg. There *does* seem to be some interest in the idea.

The Bay has a quite a pile of money to play with after selling the leases to Zellers. We could be seeing some Lord and Taylor and Bloomingdale's inside Bay stores.

The View from Seven said...

It's interesting to look at where Bloomingdale's clusters its store in the United States: along the coasts, with regional clusters in Chicago and Texas. In the rest of the country, they're a non-entity.

If they were to expand into Canada and follow a similar strategy, they would likely only be interested in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor and the Vancouver-Edmonton-Calgary triangle.

It's a bit unnerving to look at the retail makeup of the downtowns in U.S. cities of a similar size to Winnipeg -- and suggests that we might have to prepare for a future without a major department store in downtown Winnipeg. Little Rock, Knoxville, Akron, Des Moines, Omaha and Wichita have little more than Dollar General and Family Dollar stores left in their downtown areas, with the major departments stores long since having departed.

Winnipeggers might be particularly interested in what's been going on in Des Moines, one of the most similar cities to Winnipeg in the world. In 2005, Younkers closed its historic 300,000 sq. ft. downtown department store, which remained vacant for several years. More recently, work has started on converting the Younkers building to mixed-use.

John Dobbin said...

Seven: The latest reort is the Bay might eventually be bought outright by Bloomingdale's who like the differences between canada and the U.S. market.