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Bloomies is dropping Le Creuset cookware...

I was really shocked to hear this and found it hard to believe as did the LC store rep when he found out. Sure enough I was there today and they are clearing the Signature line out at 50% but the prices are still high. No one sells the cookware for the prices they are taking 1/2 off of. They have sold LC there for well over 30 years. This is VERY strange. Must be some falling out somewhere. They aren't going back to the standard line. LC is just gone from Bloomies period. Is it the same in your local Bloomies store?

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  1. Hi, blondelle:

    Bloomies is a Macy's fiefdom, and Macy's shows no signs of dropping LC.

    The exclusives, and the color trends, and the offshore competition, and perhaps LC's intransigence may have made it more trouble than it's worth to Bloomies to do something special to set itself apart. I think there may be more market adjustments ahead.

    I know that you're really into LC, so if you're sorry over this change, I am sorry too. The silver lining may be that your investments in it may now appreciate as collector's items.

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    2 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      I'm not upset as I never buy LC there except for the time I scored a 4.5 qt. Caribbean oval oven for $99.95. Some Macy's don't carry LC as people have reported scoring big buying LC returns when the store doesn't carry the brand any longer. I don't think LC will appreciate in value as it's sold in so many other places. I would love to know what happened though. They may take in Staub instead which is even stranger as they didn't do well with the brand before. Staub must have made Williams Sonoma and Bloomies an offer they couldn't refuse as both stores had previously dropped the brand.

      1. re: blondelle

        This explains a lot. I was in Macy's a few months ago (Schaumburg, IL...Woodfield Mall, huge place) and scored a cobalt blue 3.5 qt for under $100. They were selling a lot at huge discounts, but they were still selling others at regular price. Maybe it was just the discontinued colors. It was also the black and dijon and fennel.

    2. If it were selling and making Bloomingdale's money, they wouldn't be disposing of it.

      Le Creuset's problem is that they sell something that has an infinite lifespan. Even the worst accidential kitchen mishap won't permanently destroy a Le Creuset pot. For all intents and purposes, once you buy it, you have it for life.

      Also, not many people have a need for more than one. I suppose some people have more than one size, but again, you buy them once, you have them for life.

      The market is only so big, and when you factor in competition from Staub, knock-offs, and Le Creuset itself in the form of factory outlets, they just aren't doing the volume anymore to justify the space allocated to the product. Bloomingdale's has no doubt found something they think will sell better.

      I hate to say it, but Le Creuset won't appreciate it value because there is always the risk they will reintroduce your "rare" color at some point down the line and flood the marketplace.

      Nice product, but one that is played out.

      20 Replies
      1. re: NotJuliaChild

        Hi, NJC:

        I agree with your thesis. but not with the reasoning. I have personally destroyed one LC (a drop), and Wahine another (boiling dry). And they are chip- and crack-prone.

        IMO they are a victim of their own success. LC enlarged the market far beyond sustainability, then priced itself out of its own market by inviting shrewd competitors. For the last decade or so, all it has had to distinguish itself has been its trendy and frenetically-changing colors. I sense that some Wharton or LSE biz types led them down this path, yet have arguably propped them up while they expand beyond CI into clad, ceramics, utensils and (before it's over) t-shirts, makeup and credit cards. It's our own model of "brand maturation" that will ultimately be the end of them.

        I know folks love the stuff--as I once did. The love is genuine, but a lot of it was a tawdry seduction.

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        1. re: kaleokahu

          Hey, don't write an obituary yet for LC! Something happened there that might have nothing to do with the brand itself. WS dropped d5 for a while because they were pissed that they were taking away their exclusive on it. It might be politics or just some disagreement or difference of opinion..

          Bloomies prices on LC were ridiculous. They priced themselves out of the market. They have a 1/2 off sale now but the 5.5 qt. oven for instance is selling for about $375 I think. No one sells it for that retail. They never really gave you anything on a sale except for some promo pieces.

          Has anyone checked if their local Bloomies still carries it? Not sure if it's storewide or just in that Manhattan store they are dropping it.

          The Staub bit doesn't make sense but I guess that's the only other prestige ECI brand left. It didn't sell well at all when they carried it and they wound up selling off what was left at a good discount. Dillards dropped it as did WS originally. It seems to be doing OK there now though.

          I'm happy I have all I can use except I still might want the smaller or mid size soup pot although I really don't need it.

          1. re: blondelle

            Hi, blondelle:

            OK, sure, well, an obit might be premature. ;) LC can't survive long on their name and color du jour alone, especially when everyone knows they have outlet stores, and can see the price disparities/premiums. $375 for what in reality is a $75 oven?

            Wahine recently got a Staub mussel pot as a job recognition prize. The other selections were so unbelievably lame and cheap we ended up with the Staub, thinking we might resell. Used it a few times, kinda ho-hum/meh. The only interesting thing is that the walls of the pot are quite thin by normal cast iron standards. It's $99 at City Kitchens in Seattle. Is Bloomies asking $399?

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Lots of Le Creuset and Staub pieces reasonable on Ebay.

              1. re: OCEllen

                Hi, OCEllen:

                Yes, I'm aware. I'd be lucky to get 10-15% back on my money, even for the barely-used pieces.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

          2. re: kaleokahu

            I am perfectly happy with my non-LC cast iron - a vintage naked one (favorite), a Martha Stewart, and the big Tramontina bought when Cooks Illustrated did their take on no-knead bread. But the new outlet mall that opened not far from me includes a LC outlet. So I looked at the LC website to see if any of their other products is something I need. Nope. Utensils and the like are distinguished from other brands only by cachet and price. The covered mini-ramekins are cute, and the kind of thing which when I was younger I might have bought on impulse but my splurchase days are largely in the past. I truly cannot fathom collecting LC pieces based on the latest colors in their line. I don't understand shoe mania, either. Just as well, since I could not afford to amass a collection of either. Sure, it's possible to destroy a piece but only if you are careless. These things are big, and heavy. How many can one kitchen possibly need? Or have room for? Not to mention the cost. God knows how many owners my ancient naked cast iron pieces have had. I got them at flea markets and tag sales. They don't last a lifetime - they last an indefinite number of lifetimes.

            1. re: greygarious

              <Sure, it's possible to destroy a piece but only if you are careless.>

              It is still hell a lot easier to destroy an enameled cast iron cookware (like Le Cresuet) than to destroy bare cast iron cookware (like Lodge). Enameled cast iron cookware do not last longer than other cookware beside Teflon cookware. They don't last longer than bare cast iron cookware, carbon steel cookware, or stainless steel cladded cookware.

              Let me put it this way. I am willing to drop my stainless steel cladded cookware 1 foot off the floor. I am also willing to scrub my cast iron cookware with a steel wire brush.

              1. re: greygarious

                Watch out for the Martha Stewart cast iron from Macy's. It was recalled because many of the pieces were defective. I took all mine back and got a credit as result of the recall. I used my credit for LC. What is interesting is all the LC was 40% off at the Macys in the DC area. They closed them all out. The salesperson said that they are adjusting the colors and Macys is getting the new colors and apparently a new formulation on the cast iron. I think their sales were getting stale on the old colors.

                1. re: PanFreak

                  Wouldn't the new formulation be the Signature line? Maybe they hadn't changed to that line yet. I doubt if they would drop all the colors and replace them with new as there aren't that many new color introductions to do that.

                  1. re: blondelle

                    Hi, blondelle:

                    Please educate me: What besides colors and slightly larger loop handles distinguishes the Signature line? The larger handles are simultaneously an improvement over the previous generation and a throwback to 19th C utilitarianism for riveted-handled wares. I'm thinking the casting technology has made an incremental improvement to allow a greater handle web. Which is great, because there wasn 't much to hold onto before.

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      The enamel is supposed to be more resistant to scratching, scuffing and staining. The Signature line lids are also supposed to fit better, the knobs are more heat resistant, and the design of the rings on the lid is a bit different.

                      1. re: blondelle

                        Hi, Blondelle:

                        Thanks. If you (or anyone) have both the Signature and the old, have these changes amounted to noticeable improvements?

                        RE: knobs... I am at this moment preheating my lidded 5.5L LC DO for what is probably its 50th loaf of no-knead bread. That black plastic knob has endured 450F for nearly 2 hours preheat/baking, so around 100 total hours at that heat. I can detect no degradation in the plastic. Am I just lucky so far?

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          The link below shows what happens if you're not lucky. How would you even go about cleaning that off? I would spring for a stainless knob to be on the safe side.

                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/thermaln...

                        2. re: blondelle

                          Just wanted to add that the release is exponentially better, and the pans are also lighter weight and easier to lift. Very noticeable improvements.

                          1. re: foiegras

                            Hi, foiegras:

                            Thanks. It follows from what you've written that the Signature pans are thinner as well. Do you know how much less a Signature in a certain size weighs relative to the same size in the old production?

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              We have another thread where the new/old LC was discussed extensively. I mentioned my new oval Dutch oven seemed lighter for its size than my older one (I don't have any two in the same size as they would be ... duplicates). Someone in that thread confirmed this change. My Signature items are not thin ... they seem well-designed in every way. Suggest referring to the other thread for more information ...

                            2. re: foiegras

                              According to what I could find, the 5.5 LC regular oven is 10.5 lbs. and the Signature line one is 11.4 lbs. It might actually be heavier if that's accurate.

                              1. re: blondelle

                                Hi, blondelle:

                                Thanks. I would be a little concerned about bangs and drops if the Signature was much thinner. Wahine's new Staub mussel pot is surprisingly thin, but I think the small, size, egg shape, and a few carefully-placed ribs and reinforcements give it more durability than it would have if it were a simple round cocotte.

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                2. re: NotJuliaChild

                  Ha. Ha. Ha. When we moved the movers broke one thing, our massive LC pot. It was the weirdst thing ever we have tons of hideously expensive super fragile crystal and china and vintage stuff. Baffling.

                  1. re: JudiAU

                    They probably weren't as careful with it as they too thought cast iron won't break. The other items they KNEW were fragile!

                3. IMO when they moved beyond flame, whether you like it or not, they sealed their fate. If it can look like anything, the field is wide open to knockoffs. If at has a unique look, at least people will look for little details and ask (even if they don't say it aloud), "Is it real or a knockoff?". Ok, why does Apple INSIST on a period outside the quotations? Didn't they learn punctuation?

                  1. i was just at bloomingdales where i discovered the sale. the lady told me they weren't going to carry it in store anymore but online only. i don't know how true that is cause the things i was holding out for online aren't on there anymore. they won't let anyone do orders at the store, but i think you can call and do a charge send.

                    personally, i've seen that lc is a pretty good seller at the store here when there's a promotion/sale. but at the same time, sur la table, williams sonoma, and those rare macy's w/lc are not that far out of reach. i'm a macy's shopper so i can tell you over the months the lc section has been scaled back greatly. i thought they might have a sale, but nope, most just left the store. not sure if that means anything. i think in general, all stores (not just macy's or bloomingdales) here have scaled back their lc selection a lot which makes me slightly sad for bloomingdales because i like to look at their display. i think the lc outlet may be the only place that has a wide selection left, but it's not nearby.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: catbert

                      WS and Sur La Table still have the same selection they have always had. Nothing has been scaled back in those Manhattan stores.

                      1. re: blondelle

                        i'm not in manhattan. the california stores i go to have scaled back their le creuset.

                      2. re: catbert

                        That's strange they are replacing LC as a salesperson in Williams Sonoma told me that their Staub wasn't selling well and that she hardly sells any of it. People want the LC, she said. That Staub 4 qt. pot I mentioned is still there over a week later at that low price of $79.99. It's perfect too. Would still love to know what happened. Makes no sense.

                        1. re: catbert

                          hooray! ch is finally working for me and i can post.

                          this past sunday i talked to a different sales person at a different bloomingdales and was told conflicting info. they told me that bloomingdales is dropping it completely. lc was unhappy with the discounts they were giving so macy's, whom owns bloomingdales, made a deal to only carry it at macy's. i don't know if this means it will expand and more stores will carry or not. but since they don't really put them on sale (although web is different) and a few on clearance, i guess that solves the discount issue.
                          if anything, i think it'd deter people to martha stewart's line, but who knows....? ms isn't that great.

                          the sales person also told me that the heads at bloomingdales said the employees were allowed to buy the lc close out as customers with all us regular customers, so no special perks.

                          on a different note, has anyone seen the stilla (stila?) stuff? it's made in germany and is frickin' heavy! it has the pretty gradient color like lc too. i'm not sure what it's made of.
                          curious if this is what replaces lc.

                          1. re: catbert

                            I thought price fixing was illegal. They did away with caplanduval, and kitchen etc. and stopped Amazon from discounting, as well as all the other online retailers who were cutting prices. They also stopped wasserstrom from discounting. Can a company do that legally?

                            Bloomies only had a few promo pieces that were a good price and when they had a sale they jacked up their prices to take the percentage off of. I would check out their sales and they never gave much of a price break. They really didn't give you much off so I'm surprised LC objected. Williams Sonoma gives 20% off LC regularly so I'm surprised LC doesn't object to that and has low prices for LC during their summer and winter sales. I've bought deeply discounted pieces then.

                            1. re: catbert

                              "on a different note, has anyone seen the stilla (stila?) stuff? it's made in germany and is frickin' heavy! it has the pretty gradient color like lc too."

                              I think you mean Silit Silargan. It's stainless steel with a high-temperature ceramic coating inside and out. There have been a few threads here at CH about it, including one just started by blondelle.

                          2. Someone at Bloomies seems to have a death wish regarding their cookware department. They have some of the Staub up at their site at ridiculous prices. They are selling the 5.75 qt. Coq Au Vin for $319.99, and the 12" grill pan for $199.99 which is about twice what everyone else sells it for. That's retail suicide. On top of that they have the same tired colors everyone else sells.

                            At least they should had gotten an exclusive on some fresh colors. A cream white with darker gray lettering and rings and a black with light rings and lettering would have looked really nice. That at least would have really been sharp and fresh. Instead they have dark blue, Grenadine and Basil and the gray. How dreary....yawn!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: blondelle

                              How do colors become tired? I liked green as a child, still like green at age 52. I buy cookware to cook with, not as kitchen decor...

                              Maybe Le Creuset should make some dirt cheap stuff that is suitable only for decoration. They could put a warning on it, "Do not expose to heat".

                            2. Hi Blondelle,
                              The Bloomies on Long Island said the same thing. They will no longer sell LC. They will be selling Staub and Fontignac going forward.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sherrib

                                Thanks for letting me know. Will be interesting to see what happens with Staub. It's gorgeous cookware but it doesn't sell well and especially not at their inflated pricing. I don't think Fontignac is going to fly with the Bloomies customer. They tried selling the lower priced Batali, Calphalon and Cuisinart enameled cast iron, also without any success.

                                I searched the net but can't find any trade articles as to why they dropped LC. Still would love to know what happened.

                                1. re: blondelle

                                  What I'm not understanding is why is it all or nothing? You're right, something must have happened. Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma both sell both brands. Bloomies wouldn't have to drop LC to bring Staub. Don't get me wrong, Staub is both beautiful and very functional and has its advantages over LC. It is, however, a touch heavier so why not give consumers the choice?

                                  1. re: sherrib

                                    A few years ago they carried both brands but the Staub didn't sell well. They reduced the remaining pieces and dropped the line so it's strange they are bringing it back. I guess they need one premium brand to sell. If I were them I would have had Staub do some exclusive colors for the store.

                              2. The only people I know that buy cookware at department stores are doing so because someone is registered there for their wedding. I really don't see Bloomies dropping LC as a big deal. Nor do I think it says anything about LC. Personally, I'm not going to buy Martha Stewart, Emeril or Batali enameled cast iron just because that is all a store has in stock.

                                1. Staub is excellent. Avoid Lodge and some of the name endorsed brands. The enamel is cheap and flimsy. It flakes off easily. Yeah LC and Staub are expensive, the companies stand behind what they make.

                                  1. I'm sorry to hear that Bloomies is dropping LC. I love my LC. I wouldn't use anything else for my braised Lamb Shanks.
                                    The Bed & Bath in Jax FL also stopped carrying LC. They have Emeril and Fontignac. I wonder what the skinny is behind this?