Macy's (NYSE:M) announced it would finally open its first non-U.S. store in Abu Dhabi. The 205,000-sq.-ft., four-level store at Al Maryah Central is under development, and will be accompanied by a Bloomingdale's, reported Women's Wear Daily.
The 230,000-sq.-ft. Bloomingdale's is the second overseas store by the retailer, the first opened in Dubai in 2010.
The Abu Dhabi locations are planned to open in 2018 and will be operated under license by Al Tayer Group, which already operates the licensed Bloomingdale's store in Dubai.
Macy's will most likely expand to other countries, perhaps with partners in the Middle East and China.
"Whether there will be additional stores depends on whether we have success here in Abu Dhabi. Based on what we know, we feel confident," Terry Lundgren, chairman and CEO, Macy's, told Women's Wear Daily. "We are continuing to study various international markets and to better understand how customers worldwide shop in stores, online and via mobile. 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."
Lundgren did not comment on plans for a store in China but said there would be no openings in Canada at this time. He said the markets are too small and would not create new opportunities. Other department stores, such as Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) and Saks Fifth Avenue (NYSE:HBC) are moving into Canada to take advantage of the country's rising wealth.
The Dubai Bloomingdale's is one of the top five most productive stores in the chain.
The shopping complex in Abu Dhabi has also signed deals with Zara, H&M and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Macy's and Bloomindale's will be the only anchor tenants in the mall.
Department stores are attracting a new generation of customers, largely through e-commerce. Worldwide these stores should return to growth in 2014 and expand by about 22 percent, $450 billion, by 2019, according to retail consulting agency Verdict.
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