Marvin Traub, the transformative figure behind Bloomingdale’s who later served as an influential retail consultant, passed away at his home in Manhattan last month at the age of 87. He left behind a legacy of retail innovation.
Traub is credited with transforming Bloomingdale’s into a high-end luxury retailer, one that drew crowds and headlines with special events that focused on designers and merchandising plans that celebrated the cultural heritage of countries from around the world. Traub wrote “Like No Other Store,” a look at American retailing and the history of Bloomingdale’s, which was published in 1993, as well as “Like No Other Career,” which details his retail consulting career, according to Marvin Traub Associates.
Traub firmly believed that Bloomingdale’s “should always be relevant and of the moment,” said Michael Gould, CEO of Bloomingdale’s. He always preached the importance of looking for new people and new resources, Gould said, and giving the smallest among them a chance to grow. Traub strongly believed that the customer craves newness and excitement, and he delivered on it, with “something for everyone,” Gould told HFN.
“I was close to Marvin for many years, and his guidance and advice were invaluable to me as well as to other members of our company’s management team,” said Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s, Inc., parent company of Bloomingdale’s. “Marvin was a visionary and innovator. He was a true master of fashion retailing, and we all learned so much from him. I continued to meet with Marvin for regular updates over the years ... Marvin meant so much to me. I will miss him.”
Traub graduated from Harvard College in 1947 (his studies were interrupted by his service in the U.S. Army), and from Harvard Business School in 1949. He later joined Bloomingdale’s and worked his way through the ranks. He served as president and CEO for 22 years, after which he founded Marvin Traub Associates, a retail consulting firm, in 1992.