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Today In Renovations:

Bloomingdales Gains MoMENtum
As New Men's Floor Is Unveiled

Bloomingdale's revealed the next phase of its latest renovations overhaul last week, made a long overdue case for its newly reconfigured men's department. While Phase 1, a new denim and sportswear floor on the subway level now called No. 59 Metro which opened in January, provided a nice expansion and updated environment, Phase 2 is the represents a major improvement not only in ambiance, but also merchandise, putting Bloomingdale's on stronger footing to compete with competitors like Saks Fifth Avenue.
Before the new renovations, tailored clothing and shoes, two key departments in any men's business, were hidden on a cramped, easy to miss lower level. Anyone could have easily left the store thinking that Bloomingdale's didn't sell men's shoes at all. Not anymore.
Momentum3 What was once a sloppy warren of sportswear departments has been transformed into a proper, cohesive men's department that finally serves as a worthy counterpart to Bloomingdale's fourth floor women's designer boutiques. The most prominent addition in the new floor, dubbed MOMENTUM (their boldface), is a highly visible, vastly expanded shoe department, including a special shop-in-shop for Salvatore Ferragamo.
Ferragamo also gets a sportswear boutique a few steps away, as do several other designers, some new to 59th street like Ralph Lauren Black Label. Z Zegna, Armani Collezioni and others now have gleaming new environments, and suits, once tucked away, are now spread throughout the floor with new prominence given to luxury labels like Valentino and Aquascutum. Momentum2 Mainstay vendors like Canali and Corneliani are given pride of place in the center of the floor. It's still in a windowless basement, and there are a few corners that still have makeshift looking displays. Several designers like Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani and Zegna continue to withhold their top level brands to the store, but the legendary flagship now has a men's department that can set a template for the rest of the chain, and is showing the stores investment in moving into a more luxury minded-direction. The work is still not finished. Half of the street level is now under construction, as is the former suit department space, but we can now see that a dramatic upgrade is under way.
The last time a recession hit, Bloomingdale's protected itself by trading down, cutting designer collections from its flagship. Do you remember that they once carried Comme des Garçons and Jean Paul Gaultier for men on 59th Street? Ultimately, that move hurt the store when times got better. It's been a long road back, so we hope they will stick closer to their guns now that tough times have struck again.


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