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Bloomingdale’s to open outlet stores

Associated Press / January 22, 2010

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NEW YORK - Fashionistas who had to cut out the trips to Bloomie’s during the recession can breathe a sigh of relief.

Macy’s Inc. said yesterday that it will open its first Bloomingdale’s bargain-priced outlet stores this summer and fall in a bid to attract the style conscious on a budget.

The department store operator said the move to open four such stores is a response to consumers’ focus on value.

This is Macy’s first foray into the outlet arena. The stores, dubbed Bloomingdale’s Outlet, will open at outlet malls in New Jersey, Florida, and Virginia.

Chief executive Terry J. Lundgren said the company had been studying the “off-the-mall outlet business for some time, and the timing now is right given the consumer’s particular focus on value.’’

Higher-end department stores such as Bloomingdale’s have been hard hit by consumers cutting back during the recession, while their off-price offshoots - such as Nordstrom’s Rack and Saks Off Fifth - have fared better.

In an effort to improve its performance, Macy’s has been shoring up its results with aggressive cost-cutting, including job cuts, lower capital spending, and reduced contributions to employees’ retirement funds.

More outlet locations are expected to open in 2011.