Lundgren began his retailing career in 1975 as a trainee with Bullock’s, a Los Angeles-based division of Federated Department Stores, Inc. (now Macy’s, Inc.). He held positions of increasing responsibility over the next decade in buying, store management and human resources, as well as serving as the division’s director of stores and, in 1984, was named senior vice president and general merchandise manager. In 1987, he was named president and chief executive officer of Bullocks Wilshire, then the most upscale and high fashion chain of specialty department stores owned by Federated.
Lundgren left Federated in 1988 to join Neiman Marcus, where he served briefly as executive vice president. Shortly thereafter, he was named chairman and chief executive officer. He returned to Federated in April 1994 as chairman and chief executive officer of Federated Merchandising Group.