I am in the midst of a project, so I was uptown this past week. I needed to pick up something and happened to be across the street from Bloomingdales. I admit, I hesitated to go inside. I thought about turning back when I entered the door and found out what I needed was on the fourth floor. But, I braved it and headed up the escalator.
I worked inside these massive retail stores in the late ’80s. Just like everything, you have to keep innovating to keep up. I have watched big retail stores like Barneys (RIP), Saks, Bloomies, and Macy’s do massive construction to keep a fresh look. Moving the make-up floor downstairs, which I never understood, I would love to see the data on why that was done. Or, instead of embracing the beautiful old decor, give it a good clean. Those are the countless questions I have wondered about.
I felt as if I had walked into the early ’90s when I entered the store. There is zero innovation. Even getting a salesperson to ring me up was painful. Why would I ever want to walk into this store again? The store needs to be brought down to its studs to create an entirely different experience. Financially I do not see this happening. Keep in mind these stores’ online stores are terrible too. They have never been able to get past the old department store concept, no matter how much they have tried.
I have been espousing the demise of large retail stores for easily a decade, if not more. As I walk around the city, I can see the next cycle of new interesting stores that cater to each neighborhood. There will always be a desire to walk into a store, have a chat, take a look, see new ideas and concepts. That is never going away. It is human nature. Big shiny stores with massive amounts of inventory with the same business plan from 1980, methinks that is definitely on the way out.