Bloomie’s Chairman Retiring, Giorgio President To Succeed Him
NEW YORK (AP) _ Marvin Traub, the mastermind behind Bloomingdale’s trendy image, is retiring as chairman of the New York-based department store chain and will be succeeded by Michael Gould, president of Giorgio Beverly Hills, it was announced Monday.
Traub, 66, recognized as a pioneer in retailing, said he would retire by late fall after 41 years at Bloomingdale’s.
Gould, 45, heads the Avon Products Inc. division that markets Giorgio perfumes. He previously was chairman of Robinson’s, the department store chain now owned by May Department Stores Co. and before that, a general merchandise manager at Abraham & Straus.
Traub’s retirement marks the end of an era at Bloomingdale’s. Under his direction, Bloomie’s became a symbol of high fashion and trendiness, and the company’s flagship Manhattan store, which accounts for nearly a third of the chain’s sales, was considered by many the epitome of an upscale retailer.
Bloomingdale’s became known for the latest styles, both in clothes and in furniture and home furnishings. It was the place to go for trendy gadgets, European dinnerware and the newest designer perfumes - including Giorgio.
Traub is credited with making Bloomingdale’s an exciting store with splashy promotional events and advertising.
The Bloomingdale’s name became so famous that the retailer began opening satellite shops to sell shirts, tote bags and other merchandise with its logo. The retailer’s huge success forced its competitors, including cross-town Manhattan rival R.H. Macy & Co. Inc., to update their own images in the 1980s. It also helped bring the end for retailers that couldn’t keep up, like the now-defunct Gimbel chain.
Traub became chairman of Bloomingdale’s in 1978 after having served as the company’s president since 1969. He began his Bloomingdale’s career as a merchandising assistant in 1950.
His magic touch, however, was not enough to shield the retailer from some of its recent problems.
Bloomingdale’s has suffered along with other department store operators whose sales have been hurt by the recession. The retailer’s image also has been tarnished in the last few years by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings of its parent, Federated Department Stores Inc.
Bloomingdale’s was the jewel that developer Robert Campeau sought when he pursued and then took over Federated in 1988. Campeau had visions of expanding Bloomie’s into California and abroad.
However, Campeau paid too much for Federated, and the company and Allied Stores Corp., which Campeau took over in 1986, ended up in bankruptcy court after they were unable to pay the interest on the expensive junk bonds used to fund their buyouts.
The chain now has 15 stores. Two others have been closed during the company’s reorganization.
Gould faces the difficult task of keeping up the Bloomingdale’s image and satisfying customers who are more conservative during a recession. He also faces the constraints of Federated’s continuing bankruptcy proceedings.