Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bloomingdale's Perimeter May Close, Not a Shock

I remember days of being so impressed with the service and knowledge of Bloomingdales' associates that I would go to their customer service department and say how I wish other merchants and services were similar: what a great job they did! Long gone are those days. Now, with retail in trouble, Bloomingdale's and I'm sure many others, are electing to staff their stores with low paid, incompetent sales associates. Sad as it is, I knew several associates that were let go a few months ago, not as a result of poor performance but simply because they were making too much. Bloomindale's seems to have made up its mind that cheap, young labor is better than more expensive, experienced associates. I, myself, am a former associate and worked there at just 18 (the minimum age to be hired by Bloomingdale's) While I was not as experienced as some of my co-workers, I had sales experience and knew the merchandise, traits I feel few of the new crop exhibit. In recent months I have heard both internally and from professionals outside of Bloomingdale's that the Perimeter store was on the chopping block. From day 1 I questioned the wisdom of opening at both Lenox Square and Perimeter, as you can get between the two stores in as little as 15 minutes. Lenox, though not spectacular, is by far the superior store. Its men's selection is nearly the largest in the chain (due in part to the large concentration of gay men in Fulton and DeKalb counties) and it's larger in square footage than Perimeter, as well. North Point, though not much further away, would have made a world of difference. A recent experience at the Perimeter Bloomingdale's has all but convinced me a closure is imminent. Without going into too much detail or naming names, all levels of employees from front line associate (with whom the initial problem arose) to the operations manager (who had little interest in hearing my concerns or solving anything) no one showed the level of service I and many others expect from this storied chain. As sad as it is, my experience is most likely one of many and has surely contributed to the decline in sales at this location. Donald Porter, VP for British Airways, once said, "Customers don't expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong." This is a fundamental issue with Bloomingdale's lately, they ignore and or overlook issues and as a result, show a decrease in sales, hiring cheaper labor as a result, and continuing the cycle of poor service. While it would be a disappointment to many for the store to close, it seems like the most logical outcome. ToNeTo Atlanta

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Atlanta retail is in the absolute pits these days, far inferior to Dallas and other similar cities.

Atlantan99 said...

Anon,

You are right that Atlanta has fallen, but to the pits is a bit harsh. Stores like Wish in L5P, Miller Brothers in Buckhead and Sid Mashburn in West Midtown along with various other local and national retailers continue to make our city a destination for shopping. Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza have made strides of late signing new tenants and improving selection. Makins, a Know Stlye wannabe closed on the second level of Lenox last month and opens up a large space for a new retailer, Mango anyone???

Anonymous said...

The men's store being reduced in size by nearly 30% in recent months, is another sign of trouble. With less merchandise and a significant portion of mens normal space taken up by holiday merch a few months ago and now oriental rugs, merchandise is beginning to as scarce as assosicates, intelligent or not. I hope they don't close, but agree it's probabaly inevitable if both merchandise and personnel are not changed soon!

Jenna said...

I was just wondering if you have any fact-based info about Bloomingdales at Perimeter and it possibly closing?

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Jenna,

Aside from information received from both retail and real estate sources indicating a closure is being talked about, I'm unable to provide any hard evidence or facts at this time.

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

If they did close, what in the world would GGP fill that space with?

Atlantan99 said...

Anon,

That is an excellent question I don't have an answer for. A number of malls are missing anchor stores; GGP's North Point Mall saw Parisian close, Belk open in the shuttered Lord & Taylor only to close about a year later itself. Cumberland with its Costco and inserted food court is kinda sad. That mall could be nice if not for the fact that aside from the restaurant row (replacing the closed / demolished Macy's) the mall is pretty low end. Forever 21 is expanding their megastores (anchors) but I doubt they'd take it. No telling, it Bloomies does in fact close, GGP better think of something creative.

Anonymous said...

What about Sears taking over that space?

Atlantan99 said...

GGP has been trying to elevate the image of Perimeter, adding tenants that Lenox has. I hope and doubt they would let/want a Sears in the space. Occupancy is occupancy, but at what cost to the mall's image?

DAntonio said...

Yeah, they closed JC Pennys years ago & added a Dillards. There is NO WAY Perimeter is going to replace Bloomingdales with Sears. If they do, they might as well turn in there "luxury mall card". And yeah, I agree about Cumberland also. That mall could be so much nicer, and the fact that there is a Costco there, is not a good look at all.

Anonymous said...

When it was announced that Bloomingdale's was coming to Atlanta in early 2003, I recall that the Lenox and Perimeter stores were intended to be different. The one at Lenox was to be more hip and the one at Perimeter more traditional.

I have not been to Atlanta in over four years but last time I was there I spent a Sunday afternoon at Perimeter Mall and a Monday at Lenox Square.

The only Bloomingdale's I've every bought anything at was at Perimeter in 2003 and 2005. I'm just curious now how that store really looks and if it is not doing very much business at all since seeing this speculation about it closing. Does it still have a customer base at all? Do you even see shoppers at Perimeter Mall carrying Bloomingdale's brown bags?

Anonymous said...

Actually I take back my last comment. It was in 2004 and not 2003 that I made my first purchase at Bloomingdale's at Perimeter Mall. On both occasions I apparently could find something more reasonably priced at the Perimeter store than the Lenox location. I definitely considered the Perimeter location more traditional and the Lenox location more hip and trendy.

I'd be concerned that if Bloomingdale's at Perimeter Mall were to close that space would be vacant for a long time. There just are many department stores left today and Atlanta has most of them already. Since I haven't been to Atlanta since August 2005 I'm just curious about how business is faring at Perimeter Mall and its department store locations. The Dillard's at Perimeter was new back when I was there and it looked like a flagship store; I believe it's the largest Dillard's in metro Atlanta.

To sum it all up, I'd hate to see Bloomingdale's at Perimeter Mall close because that would leave a big vacancy at Perimeter and trouble filling the space as well. I wouldn't be surprised if the Macy's Group (formerly Federated Department Stores) would refuse to sell that location to any competitor as was the case when they closed the former Davison's/Macy's stores that overlapped with Rich's at the time.

Anonymous said...

Sears?? Sears is on it's last leg. They will be lucky if they make it another five years. Cumberland has become so ghetto that nobody wants to shop there. Lenox is on it's way as well. The days of spending a day at the mall are over except for punks and wanna be thugs. Good riddance to them all.

Reactionary said...

Hard to see how a mall could support three department stores these days. Somebody's going under and in this case it looks like bloomie's.

Following on the above anon's comment, Perimeter is the only mall I patronize these days, and I'm within a mile of Lenox and Phipps. Retailers at the latter two malls have high asset protection costs plus a confiscatory level of sales taxation from the permanently bankrupt City of Atlanta.

Jonathan said...

I went in to the Bloomingdale's at Perimeter yesterday and asked if they were hiring. This was an attempt to get a feeling from the associates on the state of the store. The very friendly associate said that she knew that they had been hiring, but she wasn't sure if any positions were still available. She invited me to visit the applicant website.

This could be a good sign. Maybe the Bloomingdales Perimeter isn't doing as bad as we thought. HOPEFULLY.