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Macy’s joins rush abroad, to open first international store

The Macy's flagship store in New York City.The Macy's flagship store in New York City.
The Macy's flagship store in New York City.Photograph by Spencer Platt—Getty Images

Macy’s Inc (M) is taking its show on the road. The retailer’s namesake chain is opening its first ever bricks-and-mortar store outside the United States, becoming the latest U.S. department store to look at international expansion for growth.

Macy’s will open a four-level, 205,000 square-foot store in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in 2018, while its sister chain, the luxury retailer Bloomingdale’s will open at 203,000 square-foot emporium, its second in that country. Both stores will be part of a strategic partnership with UAE-based Al Tayer Group, and will anchor Al Maryah Central, a new shopping mall on Al Maryah Island being developed by Gulf Related, a joint venture between New York-based developer Related Companies and Gulf Capital.

Al Tayer, which opened Bloomingdale’s first international store in Dubai in 2010, by all accounts a hit, will operate both stores under a license.

Macy’s has been one of the best performing U.S. department store chains in recent years, but with limited growth prospects in a mature retail market, the company has begun to look further afield to generate more sales. That has come in the form of international shipping from the U.S. through its and as well as big renovations at its stores in tourist hubs, Manhattan in particular, and a wider offering of higher end products.

“Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s already are well known globally. They are destinations for international tourists to the United States and play an important role in popular culture domestically and globally,” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement.

Macy’s move follows international expansions by some of its rivals: Nordstrom (JWN) opened its first international store, in Calgary, Alberta, last month, while HBC’s Saks Fifth Avenue will open in Canada in 2016.

Lundgren said Macy’s was looking at other international markets for potential stores.