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Oscar de la Renta has returned to Bloomingdale's after a more than 20 year hiatus. The designer has opened a 1,000-square-foot shop within the department store's flagship venue. Why? "There's an affluent international tourist at Bloomingdale's that we don't serve," Alexander Bolen, chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta, told WWD.
Shoppers can browse ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, jewelry, and home, all in one place. Even bridal is available via iPad look books. Because the shop is a leased department—more on that in a second—the brand has the utmost control over the space. "This is our store within Bloomingdale's. We're a rent-paying tenant," Bolen explained, describing the Bloomingdale's footprint as an important adjunct to the recently-expanded Madison Avenue boutique.
WWD breaks down the buzzy "leased department" concept in their coverage of ODLR's space. The brand, in this case Oscar & Co., manages the merchandising, visuals, staffing, and operations, with guaranteed space for up to five years. The brand pays rent to the store and is completely in charge of the buy, the delivery, and the sell-through. Risky.
Rewards for the brand can be rich, though, quite literally: profit margin is much higher than with a shop-in-shop (where the department store is more in control). Additionally, the brand can stock their space with whatever they'd like—in this case, that means displaying jewelry and home and clothing all together, not divvied up by floor. Control over staffing is also a major benefit.
The Bloomingdale's leased department is the first experiment with the model in the State for Oscar de la Renta, with plenty of hints that it won't be its last. The business model is popular in Europe, the Far East, and elsewhere worldwide.
· The World of Oscar de la Renta Comes to Bloomingdale's [WWD]
· More Is More: Oscar de la Renta Doubles Madison Avenue Store [Racked NY]