Macy’s, Inc. (https://www.macys.com/) is an American department store company known for two namesake brands of store: the titular Macy’s and the luxury department store Bloomingdale’s. Originally founded in New York City in 1858, in its current incarnation, Macy’s is a nationwide brand with hundreds of stores located across the United States, the result of a series of mergers with and acquisitions of other regional department store chains. While the contracting global economy has seen hard times for some American retailers, with companies such as Sears Holdings shuttering their Kmart and Sears stores, Macy’s has managed to remain solvent and successful through a comprehensive, winning omni-channel strategy. While the future is always uncertain, Macy’s strategy of targeting core demographics and altering its profile to fit the times ensure that it will have a place in the retail landscape of the U.S. for years to come.
As mentioned above, Macy’s was founded in New York City in 1858 as R.H. Macy & Co. Named for its founder, Rowland Hussey Macy, it was a dry goods store located on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, between 13th and 14th Streets, an ideal place to launch a store since there were none in the vicinity. Macy drummed up business in the early days by holding events such as having a Santa Claus visit for Christmas and by offering a money-back guarantee on purchases (Hower). The store was a success and Macy’s gradually expanded to become a nationwide company, acquiring stores in Atlanta, San Francisco, Kansas City and other locales. In 1983, Macy’s began opening up Macy’s-branded stores in cities outside of New York, but the company’s overly rapid expansion led to them declaring bankruptcy in 1992. Following restructuring, Macy’s merged with Federated Department Stores in 1994, beginning a string of acquisitions that would culminate in the buyout of the May Department Stores Company in 2005. Following the May acquisition, Macy’s converted all brands that it owned, with the exception of Bloomingdale’s, to Macy’s-brand stores, eliminating several well-known department store brands such as Chicago-based Marshall Field’s and Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann’s. This was based on the success the company had had in converting other brands it had owned prior to the May acquisition.
Right now, Macy’s is pursuing a multi-pronged, omni-channel strategy that is leading the company to great success. One of their most important initiatives is the Plenti reward program, which they launched only last year. Plenti allows customers to earn points by shopping at Macy’s, points that can also be used with retailers that are also participating in the program (Grill-Goodman). The company is also expanding overseas, with a new online store based in Hong Kong catering to the Asian market, in cooperation with Fung Retailing. These are intelligent moves because they show that the company is forward thinking and looking to change up the way it does things. The Plenti is a wise move because it gives customers an incentive to keep coming back to Macy’s and also gamifies the process of brand loyalty, while the Asia venture looks like it could be a huge success.
Overall, Macy’s is a progressive, forward-thinking with a clear and bold vision for the future. By building on the company’s history, its current leadership has ensured that it will have a place in the retail markets of the U.S. for years to come, and its new venture in China will allow it to gain a toehold in developing markets. The company has also learned from its mistakes and has avoided aggressive expansion, a lesson learned from its experience with bankruptcy. Overall, Macy’s is a powerful company with a bright future, a company that will continue to be a fixture in the American retail market.
- Grill-Goodman, J. (2015, August 08). Macy’s Top Three Omnichannel Tactics. Retrieved May 06, 2017, from https://risnews.com/macys-top-three-omnichannel-tactics
- Hower, R. M. (1943). History of Macy’s of New York, 1858-1919.