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Bloomingdale's Weighs 2 Local Sites for New Store


COSTA MESA — Bloomingdale's would like to open its first Orange County store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, but the ritzy New York retailer is still eyeing other options, an executive said Tuesday.

"Our first choice for Orange County is South Coast Plaza, but Fashion Island is something we are looking at," said Christine Miller, executive vice president of marketing for Bloomingdale's in New York.

The well-known East Coast retailer is expected to open only one Orange County store, with both South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island in Newport Beach competing for the prestige of having the New York retailer pick them. Both shopping centers cater to affluent shoppers.

Bloomingdale's has said it plans to open three department stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties--its first on the West Coast. It is leaning toward building a flagship store on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills but has not ruled out a site in the Century City Market Place Mall, Miller said. That store is expected to open in March, 1997.

While South Coast Plaza and Beverly Hills are the top choices right now, Miller said, the retailer is still weighing other possibilities.

Federated Department Stores in Cincinnati, the parent company of Bloomingdale's, said site selections have not been completed.

"There's been no decision made," spokeswoman Carol Sanger said. "What is fair to say is that we are very interested in various sites. Some may pan out, and some won't."

Frederick Evans, president of the retail division of Irvine Co., which owns Fashion Island, said Irvine Co. officials continue to negotiate with Bloomingdale's.

"Nothing has been decided yet, and I suspect it won't be until next year," Evans said Tuesday. Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza, he said, have "both been competing for Bloomingdale's."

Executives of C.J. Segerstrom & Co., South Coast Plaza's owner, would not comment. A Bloomingdale's insider confirmed, however, that delegates from Segerstrom were in New York on Friday to meet with officials of the retailer.

The Southern California stores, wherever they open, will be huge, Miller said, and designed to showcase the company's best merchandise.

"Both Bloomingdale's and California are known for having things first, so there's a good synergy here," Miller said.

Retail experts said Bloomingdale's would be an economic benefit for whatever community the company chooses, boosting sales tax revenue and likely bringing business to adjacent stores.

"It would be a coup to get Bloomingdale's to Orange County," said Pam Evertz, vice president at Hall Olson Marketing Group, a retail consulting firm in Irvine.

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