Macy's to launch first international store in Abu Dhabi
Venturing outside of the United States
Unlike the likes of other department store icons such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Harvey Nichols, Galleries Lafayette and more, Macy's is yet to step into the international arena, until now.
It has been reported that it will open a 205,000 sq-ft, four-level super store at Al Maryah Central, which is being described as a "super-regional shopping destination" and still under development on Al Maryah Island in the UAE capital.
The company also plans to open a 230,000-square-foot Bloomingdale's in the same destination, and also in 2018 – marking the retailer's second overseas store after it opened its doors in Dubai in 2010.
Bloomingdale's and Macy's both fall under the $28 billion Macy's Inc. and will be operated under license by the Al Tayer Group.
With the business executives recently visiting the Middle East and China for partners and real estate opportunities, further international expansion seems likely, "Whether there will be additional stores depends on whether we have success here in Abu Dhabi. Based on what we know, we feel confident," said Terry Lundgren, the chairman and chief executive officer of Macy's Inc.
"We are continuing to study various international markets and to better understand how customers worldwide shop in stores, online and via mobile," he added. "While macys.com and bloomingdales.com have been selling online in about 100 nations since 2011, we are especially interested in the omnichannel dynamics of worldwide markets, and the role that physical stores play in that equation."
"Abu Dhabi historically has been a business centre. It's evolving into a cultural center as well, and we're complimenting with a mixed-use project," said Ken Himmel, co-managing partner of Gulf Related and president and ceo of the parent Related Urban working on the project.
"I just think Abu Dhabi is booming"
Other retailers joining will include Zara, H&M and Apple, among other international brands, Himmel said.
"I just think Abu Dhabi is booming," Lundgren enthused, noting that the hospital, university and museum facilities are springing up close to the mixed-used development Macy's and Bloomingdale's are entering. "There is an already built-in consumer," Lundgren said. "We are going into the centre of Abu Dhabi, which has been developed."
Macy's iconic location on Herald Square in NYC
The decision to open Macy's and Bloomingdale's in Abu Dhabi was also based on Bloomingdale's track record in Dubai. The Dubai store is among the top five most productive stores in the Bloomingdale's chain, with only the 59th Street flagship; plus Florida, California and San Francisco stores generating slightly higher annual sales figures.
"If you are going to go international, you need to be sure you have the right partner. I have become very comfortable with Al Tayer," Lundgren said. "They are excellent partners. It doesn't mean we will have this [licensing] model elsewhere should we choose to open in other countries." It could go either way, Lundgren concluded.