Thursday, April 24, 2008

Macy's reverses field

... or maybe, for us Chicago folk, it would be "reverses Fields".

A good many Chicagoans would like to reverse everything Macy's has done since taking over the local iconic store, as would the folks in Baltimore who miss Hechts, and the folks in a lot of other places.

It looks like there has been a sudden onset of common sense at Macy's HQ, though I suspect it will ultimately make little difference.
But Macy Inc.'s same-store sales were 1.3 percent lower last year than in 2006, and Chief Executive Officer Terry Lundgren is changing course, ditching the nationwide cookie-cutter approach in favor of tailoring merchandise at the world's largest department store chain by targeting local tastes.

"What the consumer wants in the Galleria of St. Louis is different from what the consumer wants in State Street Chicago, or what the consumer wants in Portland, Oregon," Lundgren says. He wants 15 percent of the merchandise in stores to reflect local preferences.
"People aren't all the same." Gee, Terry, you really think so?

There are a few things worth noting here. One is that national standardization, and the cost savings and buying power associated with it, was pretty much the raison d'etre behind the May Company buyout. They've now abandoned it, which means that Macy's has acknowledged that it shouldn't exist. Okay, a bit harsh, but I enjoy mocking department stores.

The next is that a good sign of a business that has no clue is that they make violent 180-degree changes in strategy on a regular basis (Sears used to do this a lot).

And finally, this was totally predictable. I mentioned in a post a week or two ago that every time the economy sneezes, the department store biz gets pneumonia. This is a dead channel that just hasn't been buried yet.

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