Marvin Traub, the former CEO of Bloomingdale's, passed away last night at his home on the Upper East Side at the age of 87. Traub, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2009, had retired from his position at the department store in 1991 and went on to start his own consulting firm a year later.
Among an impressive list of accomplishments, Traub is recognized for turning Bloomingdale's into a household name among high-end customers, bargain shoppers, celebrities, and even royalty. He did, after all, personally escort Queen Elizabeth II through the 59th Street store, and told the Post that the Queen "didn't choose Saks, and she didn't choose Bergdorf—she chose Bloomingdale's."
To get to that point, Traub started at the bottom. In 1950, he was put in charge of Bloomingdale's bargain basement. The Times reports that when business was slow, "he and a colleague pretended to be customers reveling in merchandise at the bargain tables. After attracting a crowd, he recalled, 'we would quietly slip back to our offices.'"
The show continued when he was appointed president in 1969, and then less than ten years later, chairman and chief executive. His in-store promotional events often included tributes to other countries like India, France, China, and more. For example, his "India: The Ultimate Fantasy" fete even included life-size papier-mâché elephants and wooden temple carvings.
Last but not least, he's the reason why Bloomingdale's will always be "Bloomie's" to some. Buisnessweek writes: "A merchandising manager at the store since 1962, Traub became president in 1969 and oversaw the opening of new branches and the growth of 'Bloomie's' as a brand name, particularly on women's underwear."
· Marvin S. Traub, Impresario of Bloomingdale's, Dies at 87 [NYT]
· Death of a legend: Bloomie's Marvin Traub, 87 [NYP]
· Marvin Traub, Former Bloomingdale's CEO, Dies [Businessweek]