ORLANDO-Bloomingdale’s didn’t tell Macy’s or Neiman Marcus it was breaking ground this week on its first Orlando emporium–a three-story, 235,000-sf, estimated $20 million store at the almost-completed, 1.3 million-sf Mall at Millenia, the largest shopping center in metro Orlando.

The store and the mall are tentatively scheduled to open Oct. 18, 2002. Macy’s and Neiman Marcus haven’t announced construction starts on their stores.

Taubman Centers Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, MI and Forbes Co. of Southfield, MI are jointly developing the 405-acre regional mall in south Orlando as Forbes Taubman Orlando LLC Millenia.

The construction start comes at a time when Bloomingdale’s parent, Federated Department Stores Inc. of Cincinnati and New York, is finally seeing a fractional upturn in sales for the four weeks ended Dec. 1. The company reports an increase of .9% in comparable-store sales. November sales of $1.72 billion were .6% higher than sales of $1.72 billion for the same period last year.

For the 43-week year-to-date period, however, Federated’s same-store sales (stores open at least a year) were down 4.3%. Year-to-date sales totaled $13.05 billion, down 6.8% versus $14 billion at this time last year.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC, Federated’s total sales are in the $110 million range, or 20% below expectations, according to the company. Still, the company remains one of the leading department store retailers in the United States with average annual sales of $18.4 billion.

Federated previously announced it was discontinuing its Bloomingdale’s retail Internet site and reducing its Macy’s Web site to focus less on apparel and more on housewares, gifts and jewelry. Federated is also closing its Macy’s catalog, a marketing tool for the Web site.

Besides Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, Federated also operates The Bon Marche, Burdines, Goldsmith’s, Lazarus, Rich’s, Bloomindale’s by Mail and Fingerhut, a mail order company.

Federated’s common on Dec. 6 closed on the New York Stock Exchange at $37.13 per share, down 87 cents (down 2.29%) from $38 on Dec. 5. The 52-week high low is $49.90 and $26.05. Trading volume Dec. 6 was 1.58 million. The company has 192.6 million shares outstanding. Federated’s market capitalization is $7.1 billion.

Ibex Construction Co. is the general contractor for the new Orlando store. Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates is designing the project. Both are New York-based firms. GlobeSt.com couldn’t reach either Ibex or Kohn Pedersen at publication deadline to learn more development details.

But Orlando area construction estimators tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the final hard construction cost of the store will probably come in at about $150 per sf or about $33 million. The estimated $20 million figure comes from independent New York contracting sources.

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