Federated Department Stores today announced plans to fully integrate fulfillment operations and merchandise offerings of its bloomingdales.com and Bloomingdale's By Mail businesses. The company also announced the creation of Bloomingdale's Direct as an umbrella organization to manage the integrated businesses, appointing Franz Weiglein as president.

"The restructuring of Bloomingdale's catalogue and e-commerce operations reduces redundancies, streamlines operations and creates a more efficient organisation to enhance our customers' shopping experience across all channels," said Jeffrey Sherman, chairman of Federated Direct. "Federated is focused on growing its direct businesses, increasing profitability and reflecting a seamless brand and merchandise selection, whether it be in-store, online or by mail. As more customers turn to the web for access to Bloomingdale's, this integration ensures that their transactions will be fully compatible and effectively managed across all channels."

Implementation of the integrated infrastructure is scheduled for completion by autumn 2001. An integrated bloomingdales.com and Bloomingdale's By Mail will share inventory and fulfillment operations and be serviced by a single planning and merchandising division under the supervision of Bloomingdale's Direct management. Federated Direct completed a similar restructuring of macys.com and Macy's By Mail.

"We look forward to expanding our brand through the Bloomingdale's Direct business," said Michael Gould, chairman of Bloomingdale's.

Weiglein, 40, joins Federated after 10 years with Lands' End. He most recently was vice president/general merchandise manager of that company's men's division, where he built and managed several product development teams and contributed to significantly improved profit margins. As managing director of the Lands' End tailored business unit, he was responsible for the company's men's and women's specialty catalogues. Prior to joining Lands' End, Weiglein was a senior manager at The Orvis Company, directing development and purchasing for direct mail, retail and dealer distribution.

"Franz Weiglein's career has been devoted to the expansion of leading-edge direct-to-consumer companies," said Dawn Robertson, president of Federated Direct. "He brings to the Federated team a breadth of financial, marketing and merchandising management expertise across all established and emerging channels. His appointment rounds out our Federated Direct management team and strengthens our growth strategy in direct retailing."

A restructured Bloomingdale's catalogue and online infrastructure will occur incrementally throughout the year. Merchandising and planning functions will be consolidated in New York for both catalogue and e-commerce operations, and Bloomingdale's Direct buyers will begin buying for both the catalogue and bloomingdales.com immediately. Consolidated finance, web management, human resources and technology operations, supporting both online and direct mail operations, will be managed by Bloomingdale's Direct.