bloomingdale's 59th street flagship new york

Bloomingdale's opening outlets? Not soon enough! Photo: Getty Images

Shoppers take heart – Bloomingdale's Big Brown Bags could be coming to an outlet center near you.

Whether it's to appeal to cash-strapped consumers or to take advantage of the opportunities outlets provides, posh department store Bloomingdale's is reportedly working out a deal to get in the game.

Simon Property Group is helping with the initiative -- WWD reported -- to get the retailer into some of its 16 Mills properties (perhaps Sawgrass Mills in FL, Potomac Mills in MD, or Ontario Mills in Calif.), the more upscale of its outlet malls. Simon recently acquired Prime Outlets and could offer a Bloomingdale's outlet retail space there, as well.

Bloomingdale's would be the last of the top luxury department stores to open discounted outposts. Saks Fifth Avenue operates 52 Off Fifth outlets across the country. Neiman Marcus has 28 Last Call stores, while Nordstrom is the leader with 69 Nordstrom Rack locations, and is set to open one in New York City's Union Square late this spring.

Outlet centers have always been a draw for cost-conscious consumers, plus their demand has remained constant even as the economy and most other retail sectors have experienced downturns.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, sales in U.S. outlet malls were $301 per square foot in 2008, barely down from $305 in 2007.

Bloomingdale's declined to comment.

Plus, read about this department store's controversial decision to ditch plus-size clothing.