LIKE NO OTHER STORE IN THE WORLD"": The Inside Story of Bloomingdale's by Mark Stevens

LIKE NO OTHER STORE IN THE WORLD"": The Inside Story of Bloomingdale's

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Syndicated business columnist Mark Stevens portrays Bloomingdale's as a less than glowing example of success through media hype. New York has had a love affair with this ""Disneyland for adults,"" which promotes ""ultra-hot fashions with a brief life expectancy"" (the ""Bloomingdale's Blitz""). Stevens first provides a floor-by-floor tour of the East Side Manhattan store, noting that its bargain-basement image was upgraded to reflect the neighborhood's renaissance. He then looks at Bloomingdale's branch-store placement (in upper-middle-class areas) and at the parent company, Federated Department Stores (which also owns Magnin's, Burdine's, and Filene's, among others), commending Bloomingdale's early showcasing of such designers as Bill Blass, Ralph Lauren, and Halston. But Bloomingdale's relies heavily on ""illusion and sleight-of-hand"" (Halston and Lauren agree that its merchandise is ""not as imaginative as its displays and promotions"")--PR hype which makes devotees ""afraid to contradict its fashion statements."" Remember Queen Elizabeth allegedly demanding to visit the store during her 1977 tour? Stevens says Bloomingdale's ""begged, pleaded and twisted some powerful arms"" to arrange that. The store is known as a ""sweatshop"" (cutting costs by overworking insufficient staff), and as a ""gay"" rendezvous (men's rooms ""serve as meat markets for sex""), and Stevens contends that poor service, a confusing layout, and vigorous merchandising by other stores--notably Macy's--may mean that Bloomingdale's has ""peaked."" A retailing study laced with trade gossip.

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 1979
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell