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WWD is reporting that Bloomingdale's is close to a deal to start opening outlet stores around the country. The department store doesn't currently have outlets for apparel, though there is a furniture and carpet clearance center in Westchester, N.Y.
Bloomies didn't comment on the rumor. While it would be a latecomer to the outlet game, it's not a bad time to get into it. As other tenants vacate, more space is opening up in outlet malls, and they're in general doing better than other retail. Nieman Marcus says its 28 Last Call units have been outperforming its regular stores. Saks Off 5th just unveiled a new prototype, and Nordstrom Rack will be getting its first Manhattan location on Union Square.
Lord & Taylor is getting in on the action with a 15,000-square-foot unit at the Jersey Gardens outlet center in Elizabeth, N.J., that's set to open sometime in February. Jeffrey Sherman, the CEO of L&T's parent company, says if that unit turns out to meet their objectives, they'll roll out the outlets at other malls where they're currently scouting locations.
· Bloomingdale's Outlets Said in the Works [WWD, subscription required]