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For Executive Women

Like other department stores in search of specialized marketing niches, Bullock’s has come up with one: “Portfolio” for executive women.

But it doesn’t have anything to do with stocks or investments. Portfolio is the name of Bullock’s newest department, which was opened this month to cater to wardrobe needs of executive women. While so-called career dressing is hardly new, the chain is the first among major Southern California department stores to specifically target executive women.

The concept has already proved successful for at least one other big retailer. Carson Pirie Scott in Chicago, for example, offers clothing and array of services for corporate women at its downtown store.

As department stores are becoming increasingly alike in both merchandise and pricing, retailers are turning to personal services as one way to create a unique image and to nurture shopper loyalty. Portfolio is actually an extension of Bullock’s personal shopper service--which is available to customers who want somebody else to do their shopping--but Portfolio’s wardrobe consultants dispense only advice about clothing for the office.

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The apparel includes suits, blazers, knits, pants and blouses, while offering a departure from the typical pin-striped suit, explained Hilary Mandel, director of special events for Bullock’s.

And the executive look carries executive price tags. Prices on skirts average $150; $100 for blouses and $100 for blazers. A complete outfit can cost between $200 to $500.

Bullock’s zeroed in on executive women after surveys showed that 80% of its customers are women. Of these women, 75% work, and nearly one-third of the working women hold executive or managerial positions.

Portfolio was launched with heavy promotions--24 different advertisements over a three-week period. The program includes a traveling fashion show and seminars with such titles as “Change your voice, change your life.”

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Bullock’s is testing the format at eight stores in Southern California and one at Scottsdale, Ariz. It plans to expand Portfolio to the chain’s remaining 13 stores by the end of 1986.


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