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05/04/2012 - 07:37 PM
Bloomingdale’s Outlet opens at the Shops at Park Lane in Dallas
Dallas, Texas - May 03, 2012 09:44 PM CDT

By MARIA HALKIAS, Dallas Morning News 

Evans Caglage/Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer

Sometimes there’s an advantage to not being first.

Upscale department store Bloomingdale’s is late to the outlet business, but it was paying attention all these years.

The first Bloomingdale’s Outlet in Texas opened Thursday at the Shops at Park Lane in Dallas. It’s only the eighth store in the chain. Four more will open later this year.

“We think our outlet shopping environment is better than the competition and our service level is giving shoppers what they’re missing elsewhere,” said Arnie Orlick, senior vice president for Bloomingdale’s Outlet stores. “We made sure it was easy to shop. Brands and departments are on all the fixtures.”

Shoppers commented about the level of service and wondered whether it was just for opening day.

“Three or four people asked me if I needed any help and if I was finding my size,” said Brittany Peters, 23, of Dallas, who took her lunch break at 10 a.m. to be among the first shoppers.

“I didn’t want to wait until lunchtime,” she said. Peters found a top and sunglasses that together cost $70 and used one of the $25 coupons the store is passing out for grand opening weekend.

Although it was her first time shopping at a Bloomingdale’s Outlet, she shopped the full-line store when she lived in St. Louis and Chicago.

Most of the chain’s customers have never been in a Bloomingdale’s Outlet.

Macy’s owns New York-based Bloomingdale’s and decided to use its upscale division to enter the outlet business. The 25,000-square-foot store at the Shops at Park Lane is on the ground level across from Saks Off 5th and between Aveda and the Children’s Place.

“We’re learning more about this business every day,” Orlick said. Stores are being put in different locations, not just outlet malls, and the Texas test is an example of opening outlets in markets where there is no full-price Bloomingdale’s store.

“The Texas stores will teach us about the power of the Bloomingdale’s brand,” he said.

All the merchandise carried by the outlet store is from designers and brands sold in Bloomingdale’s stores.

“It’s not old goods that are out of season,” Orlick said. Ten percent to 40 percent of the items come from the full-price Bloomingdale’s stores, depending on the season and category.

Many of the shoppers who showed up for opening day were diehard fans. Beth Lawrence drove 25 miles from her home in Frisco.

“I love Bloomingdale’s. I shop there in California a lot when I’m there on business,” said Lawrence, who was waiting in line to try on a half-dozen items. “I think the children’s department needs a little work.”

The Shops at Park Lane is across North Central Expressway from NorthPark Center and is also home to Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Whole Foods, Ulta and Charming Charlie.

“We’ve been looking at this center for a while. We like being across from NorthPark,” Orlick said.