Bron will step into his new role in early November.
With the move, the legacy retailer is adding an outside perspective and a dash of global flair to the higher-end department store. Bron, 46, is a French national who was most recently CEO of Central and Robinson department stores in Thailand.
Prior to that, he was chief operating officer and director of strategy for Galeries Lafayette, a French retail group in Paris. He also spent more than a decade at Bain & Company as a retail consultant.
By tapping a retail executive who is from another company and country, Macy’s may be hinting at bigger global ambitions for Bloomingdale’s. The chain has a small international presence, with locations in Dubai and Kuwait. Yet Bloomingdale’s flagship store in midtown Manhattan signals its popularity with tourists who flock to New York City. The store’s exterior is decorated with flags from around the world.
Macy’s also has described Bloomingdale’s as “a cornerstone” of one its key strategies — growing its luxury business.
In a news release, Spring described Bron as “an authentic and charismatic leader” who understands Bloomingdale’s brand and is ready to take the company into the future.
“His extensive international retail career and deep knowledge of the luxury market will be invaluable as we pursue additional opportunities for growth,” Spring said.
Bron said in the news release that he’s long admired Bloomingdale’s brand. He said he wants to build on that with “new store formats and continued digital expansion.”
It will mark the first time since 1991 that Macy’s has hired an outside executive as Bloomingdale’s CEO. Spring, who took the helm at the chain in 2014, succeeded Michael Gould, who came from fragrance brand Giorgio Beverly Hills in 1991 after serving as its CEO.
Along with operating 34 stores across the country, Bloomingdale’s has recently experimented by opening smaller stores called Bloomie’s. It has two locations and plans to open another in Seattle, a new market for Bloomingdale’s and the backyard of rival Nordstrom.
Bloomingdale’s also has 20 outlet stores across the U.S.
For Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s has been a growth driver and steadier source of business as some of the company’s legacy department stores have shuttered or struggled. Bloomingdale’s touts designer names and pricier items and tends to draw a more affluent customer.
In the most recent quarter, however, even Bloomingdale’s sales sagged amid greater pressure on consumers’ budgets and a shift toward spending on experiences. Comparable sales declined 2.6% on an owned-plus-licensed basis as customers bought fewer handbags, men’s apparel items and dresses.
Along with its namesake stores, Macy’s includes beauty chain Bluemercury, which saw sales gains in the most recently reported quarter.
Macy’s namesake stores, however, remain the biggest part of the business. The parent company does not split out revenue by store brands, but Macy’s stores make up most of its footprint and draw most of its shoppers.
As of late July, Bloomingdale’s had 4 million active customers on a trailing 12-month basis, compared with 41.5 million active customers at Macy’s and about 736,000 at Bluemercury.