Shoe dept. boots Macy's flower show outside

The tent of the 38th Annual Macy's Flower The tent of the 38th Annual Macy's Flower Show, outside of the department store in Herald Square's Broadway Plaza in Manhattan. (March 22, 2012) Photo Credit: Yana Paskova

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In the rock-paper-scissors world of retail, pumps beat petals.

Just ask organizers of this year's 38th Annual Macy's Flower Show, traditionally set up on the Herald Square store's main floor. It's been booted outside to a 5,000-square-foot tent due to a major renovation project that promises, among other things, the world's largest shoe floor.

The $400-million, multiyear renovation began this month, starting with work on the new 63,000-square-foot shoe space on the second floor. Fragrance, handbags and other departments have been relocated, but there was no other indoor space for the dramatic flowers that annually bring thousands of visitors to the flagship store in Manhattan.

"We didn't expect to have to reinvent the show this year," says flower show executive producer Robin Hall. But he did, with something called "Brasil: Gardens in Paradise" -- think palm trees, orchids, rare Amazonian flowers, even a 14-foot waterfall. Free to the public, it opens Sunday and runs through April 7.

A year ago, when flower show organizers started planning for 2012, they believed main-floor construction would be minimal. But about six months ago construction estimates changed. "Anyone who's had their bathroom remodeled knows how renovations go," says Hall.

Construction of the new shoe floor (which replaces the current women's shoe departments on floors 4 and 5) began March 12, and Macy's hopes the digs will be ready by fall. Sure to be a major lure for shoe fanatics, the "shoe floor on 2" will offer some 300,000 pairs, along with new luxury shops from Calvin Klein, Coach, Michael Kors and others, plus a coffee, champagne and chocolate bar.

And that's just the start of a top-to-bottom makeover of the landmark store, which will gain an extra 100,000 square feet of selling space, for a grand total of 1.2 million square feet.

The full building makeover will take years. As for the flowers?

"We're definitely going to be outside next year, too," says Hall.

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