High-end retailer Bloomingdale’s is planning to open its first Seattle location with Bloomie’s, a smaller-format store.
The store will open at University Village this year. Bloomingdale’s did not give an opening date nor an exact site. The store will be 15,000 to 20,000 square feet.
The new format was well-received in two other cities where it opened, said Charles Anderson, Bloomingdale’s director of stores.
“We are thrilled to enter the Seattle market,” Anderson said.
Bloomie’s has a curated selection of brands such as Jimmy Choo and La Mer. The stores offer “interactive experiences” and cocktails, according to its website. The other two locations are in Fairfax, Virginia, and Skokie, Illinois.
Bloomingdale’s has 34 stores and 20 outlets nationwide, with the nearest one to Seattle being in San Francisco. The high-end department store, owned by Macy’s, has reported positive financial results. Sales at company-owned stores increased 8.8% in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in the previous year, a stark contrast from Macy’s, whose sales decreased in that same period. Bloomingdale’s competitor, Seattle-based Nordstrom, reported in the third quarter that higher discounts were hurting profitability.
Bloomie’s allows Bloomingdale’s to enter the market through a smaller-store concept without committing to a full-sized department store, said Monica Wallace, Kidder Mathews’ executive vice president of brokerage for the Pacific Northwest.
Other department stores have bet on smaller formats. Macy’s has its own version of Bloomie’s, called Market by Macy’s. It has locations in Texas and Atlanta. Nordstrom has Nordstrom Local, which only provides pick up, returns and alteration services but does not sell clothes. Nordstrom Local’s locations are in New York and Los Angeles.
Wallace also said Bloomie’s and University Village complement each other because they’re both curated experiences. The mall offers similar high-end options such as furniture retailer RH Gallery. Bloomie’s does not have direct competitors there.
Downtown Seattle, on the other hand, does not offer a curated selection of stores because there are different building owners that are not coordinating on tenant selection to create the customer experience, Wallace said. Customers — such as office workers and tourists — are also not entirely back to the downtown core, she said, though some retailers there felt customers were coming back.
Malls such as University Village “can curate their tenant mix in a way that allows for the overall experience,” Wallace said. “It makes sense that (Bloomie’s) went there.”
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