First overseas Bloomingdale's store in Dubai

Sheikh Mansour inaugurates Bloomingdale's outlet at Dubai Mall yesterday. (XAVIER WILSON)

Iconic department store Bloomingdale's will monitor its success here in Dubai before considering any other international venture, Emirates Business can reveal.

The US-based outlet will open its first international offering in Dubai today.

Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated the 200,000 square foot outlet at Dubai Mall yesterday.

The Dh270 million joint venture between Al Tayer Insignia and Bloomingdale's parent company Macy's Inc has been nearly three years in the making.

Speaking to this newspaper, Michael Gould, Chairman and CEO, Bloomingdale's, said the company was not looking to set up outlets outside America until meeting with Al Tayer Insignia.

"We had not been seriously looking for an international store. Even today we do not have a list of more places we want to go to. We really want to see how big can the success be in Dubai. We know that over a period of time we and the Al Tayer Insignia group will be very successful here, and the only question is how successful? And that will determine if we want to do other things outside the US," he said.

The Dubai outlet comprises a 146,000 sq ft apparel and accessories section spread across three floors and a separate one-level home store that spans 54,000 sq ft. Gould said he was confident of Dubai's appeal and was equally confident the worst of the crisis had passed.

"We've been in business since 1872 in New York. We've been through good times and through the tough times. We really feel we are past the worst. We see increasing customer confidence and we're very, very optimistic.

"In the long term, we're in the right place, in the right mall and most importantly with the right partner.

"I think if we make sure that we have a good floor of merchandise, newness on a regular basis, energy in the store and events that Bloomingdale's is known for, we should be fine.

"We have to bring our energy. We work very closely with Al Tayer not just on the merchandise but on the marketing and what kind of events we do, and I think that will bring the difference," Gould said.

Declining to comment on projected sales figures for their debut quarter in Dubai, he said: "Life is about building. I've never got too excited about what's the volume going to be on the first day, the first week. This is a long process. It's not a 100m dash; it's a marathon. We open today. It's not the height of the season. I think we will continue to build and grow."

 

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