DUBAI: Shoppers rejoice as UAE opens first Bloomingdale's outside U.S.
Flashy Dubai may seem like a surprising choice for the first-ever overseas Bloomingdale's. The New York-based luxury retailer has spent the last 138 years cultivating an image of refinement and classic taste, spreading cautiously to upscale areas of other major American cities such as Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
But as of today, Dubai shoppers will get a taste of 59th Street with the opening of a new Bloomingdale's branch, which will be split between two stores in the Dubai Mall and occupy 200,000 square feet.
It will also include a branch of New York's Magnolia Bakery, famous for its cupcakes.
The decision to open a branch in Dubai was not made lightly, Michael Gould, the store's chief executive and chairman told Gulf News, an English-language newspaper published in the Emirates.
"I think what was unique about Dubai was that there were a bunch of people … who understood what we were talking about. They understood the brand. They understood what were the core elements about Bloomingdale's," the paper quoted him as saying.
It's hard to understate the excitement the opening is causing in the Emirates, especially in the wake of so much bad press surrounding Dubai's debt crisis and the acquittal of an Abu Dhabi royal on torture charges.
The Abu Dhabi-based newspaper the National included a 10-picture slide show to accompany the article on its website.
The deal between Al Tayer and Bloomingdale's was announced before the extent of the global financial crisis was clear and well before Dubai's much-publicized debt freeze and bailout late last year.
Though consumer confidence remains shaky in much of the world, Gould told Gulf News that Bloomingdale's enjoyed its strongest fourth quarter in more than a year, bolstering hopes that the economy would breathe new life into luxury retail.
-- Meris Lutz in Beirut
Top photo: The new Bloomingdale's will be split into two stores in the Dubai Mall. Credit: Paul Wilhelm via Wikimedia Commons
Bottom photo: Bloomingdale's signature brown bag. Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images