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Though Bergdorf Goodman is one of the city's oldest luxury department stores, there's nothing outdated about it, and that's largely thanks to president Joshua Schulman, who has already enacted several changes in just two short years on the job. In an in-depth WWD article published today—its second of the day on a department store president—Schulman details what else he plans on accomplishing to bolster the store.
After a storewide renovation that included expansions to the men's department and women's shoe salons, Schulman is now focusing on his latest venture, BG 20/20, which involves Bergdorf bigwigs like Linda Fargo reshaping the offerings for women. That includes a heavy emphasis on what the paper calls the "hot footwear segment."
"Obviously, I have a deep understanding and passion for shoes," Schulman said (he's previously worked as the CEO of Jimmy Choo). "It's a business that has had tremendous innovation and that's been important for Bergdorf. We were a pioneer in introducing the shoe salon as a more social setting. Clearly, that concept has taken flight."
He's also noticed that customers have expanding taste when it comes to brands—some of their favorites right now include Gianvito Rossi, Francesco Russo, Nicholas Kirkwood, and Tabitha Simmons, the latter whom Schulman mentored through the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund program.
But that doesn't mean Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik have lost their clout—those brands are included in both the main shoe floor and the contemporary floor, 5F.
"This is a business we've reinvented over the past five years," he said of 5F. "Two years ago, the best-selling shoe was a $295 pump. Now our key pump on this floor is Manolo at $595. We've elevated the assortment and we have a powerful brand mix."
And on the men's side, the renovation efforts that began in 2011 are nearing completion. In addition to a "shoe library" that opened in 2012 and includes brands like Christian Louboutin and Tom Ford, there's also the debut of a Berluti shop-in-shop.
"Bergdorf is a great place with a lot of deep roots and interesting stories," Schulman said. "In a building as historic as this, people sometimes get attached to a certain part of it. The reality is if you go back in history, everything has moved around...There's nothing in the building that has been the same for the entire time. You always need to refresh."
· Good Man: Inside Josh Schulman's Big Plans for Bergdorf [WWD]
· How Marigay McKee Is Forging Change at Saks Fifth Avenue [Racked NY]
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