Bloomingdale’s is trying a new Small-Store Concept — Is This a Viable Solution for Retail in Pandemic Times?

By guest author Samantha McDonald from Footwear News.

Bloomingdale’s is reportedly unveiling a new type of store as it works to expand in pandemic times.

The retailer’s small-format concept, dubbed Bloomie’s, is set to open this fall in Virginia’s Mosaic District shopping complex, reported FN’s sister publication WWD. It’s expected to span roughly 22,000 square feet — a departure from the chain’s average department store size, which measures about 200,000 square feet.

“As part of the continued evolution of our omnichannel ecosystem, we will continue testing several smaller-format, off-mall stores, including Bloomie’s,” a spokesperson for parent company Macy’s Inc. told FN.   

The addition to Bloomingdale’s brick-and-mortar fleet comes during a challenging time for the retail sector, which is contending with a drastic shift in consumer preferences amid the global health crisis. Many Americans who felt unsafe visiting physical stores swiftly turned to digital channels to place their orders, amplifying services like buy online, pick-up in store, curbside pickup and other contactless offerings.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to reshape the shopping landscape, small-concept stores have emerged as a potentially viable option for retailers who may want to forge ahead with expansion plans but sidestep some of the risks associated with full-line department stores.