Weekend good reads: Macy’s looks to customization and a richer assortment via the Wall Street Journal

Jeff Gennette, Macy’s new CEO, at the department store’s flagship location in 
Manhattan’s Herald Square on March 21.
photo by Michael Rubenstein for the Wall Street Journal

If you enjoy reading about the business side of fashion as I do, a Wall Street Journal subscription is a must! This week the WSJ ran an article about Macy’s new CEO Jeff Gennette and his plans to reinvigorate the struggling department store. As a NYC native who grew up shopping at the Herald Square store on occasion, it saddens me to see how far this once-great store has fallen.

The article however gives me hope. It has some great ideas from new CEO Gennette, who is thinking of ways to customize the consumer experience and reinvesting in better materials, fewer brands, and a better overall product assortment.

From the article:
“To boost sales of full-price merchandise, Mr. Gennette plans to add new brands and designers, while improving the materials and construction of some lines and varying the mix of items more. He pointed to Macy’s private label INC brand, which has raised prices around 8% on average after adding embellishments such as additional trim and better-quality fabrics.”

One very interesting stat in the article was that 10% of Macy’s 43 million customers account for a whopping 50% of its total sales. WOW. There is clearly a lot of room to improve there and who knew that so few people could keep a retailer afloat? It also makes me think of this MSN slideshow I saw earlier this week, about the disorganization running rampant at dying stores.

There’s also plenty of warnings here about the peril of department stores, which makes me think of non-luxury department stores I love like Nordstrom and Anthropologie & Co. (I say non-luxury because luxury department stores are mostly doing just fine, especially at the highest end while midrange stores continue to struggle.)

The full article is available to subscribers of the WSJ, and for a limited time for free here.

What are your thoughts on this article?


  1. March 27, 2017 / 12:51 am

    I grew up in the northeast and when I was little, my mom worked at Abraham and Strauss, which was eventually bought by Macy's. At the time, and at our particular store, Macy's was AMAZING. They had a yearly event with fashion shows and celebrities. By the time I was a teenager, I had no desire to shop at Macy's. There was definitely nothing spectacular or unique about that store. When I moved to south Florida in 2000, there was no Macy's. There was Burdines, which was strictly a Florida store with a great selection and better brands. It was bougbt out by Macy's around 2004-2005 timeframe and I feel that it's just not as good. The store has been remodeled and it's nice, but I also feel like it's packed to the gills with merchandise. Because of that, it often looks really messy and chaotic, especially during holiday times and sales. Having less merchandise and bringing back some of the better brands would really help them.

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