Marvin S. Traub, who helped distinguish Bloomingdale’s from the department-store pack by offering glamorous, luxurious products from around the world, has died. He was 87.
Traub had suffered from bladder cancer, according to Mortimer Singer, president of Martin Traub Associates.
Traub served as the luxury retailer’s president and chief executive officer for 22 years, according to the website for his self-named consulting firm. He helped turn the phrase “like no other store in the world” into the slogan and marching order for Bloomingdale’s and turned its flagship, at Lexington Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan, into a showcase.
“He was a showman,” said Walter Loeb, founder of the New York-based retail consulting firm Loeb Associates Inc. “He understood that theater is what made Bloomingdale’s a very special place to shop. Whether it was country-tied events, or bringing fashion designers in contact with shoppers for the first time, it was all about the excitement.”
A merchandising manager at the store since 1962, Traub became president in 1969 and oversaw the opening of new branches and the growth of “Bloomie’s” as a brand name, particularly on women’s underwear.
“Blessed with enormous energy, he will always be remembered for the devotion he gave to our store for the last 62 years,” current CEO and Chairman Michael Gould said in an e-mail to employees. “Marvin took great pride in all of those that he mentored, from retail industry leaders to our Bloomingdale’s family. He touched so many and we are grateful to have been a part of his journey.”
Marvin Stuart Traub was born on April 14, 1925, in New York City, an only child. His father, Sam, was vice president of a corset company, and his mother, Bea, was a saleswoman at Bonwit Teller in New York, according to a 1980 People magazine profile.
His studies at Harvard University were interrupted by U.S. Army service during World War II, during which he was severely wounded by a bullet. Back at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard, he helped resurrect the student newspaper, the Crimson, which had suspended publication during the war, People reported. He attended Harvard Business School, specializing in marketing.
After a year working for the Alexander’s retail chain, he joined Bloomingdale’s.
Survivors include his wife, Lee, and three children, Andrew, James and Peggy, according to Singer.
Today, Macy’s Inc., based in Cincinnati and New York, operates 37 Bloomingdale’s locations in addition to about 800 Macy’s stores. The parent company earned $1.26 billion on revenue of $26.4 billion in its fiscal year ending in January.