Saturday, January 06, 2007


it's "new coke" all over again: shoppers are not warming up to the new macy's.

in 2003, federated department stores decided to do away with its older brands, and convert department stores such as lazarus into macy's stores. (or at least into co-branded "lazarus/macy's" stores, which eventually morphed into pure "macy's".) then in 2005, federated bought out may department stores, and promptly decided to eliminate all the old may brands and change all those stores into macy's as well. this second round of rebranding hasn't gone over so well.

Loyalists to regional chains such as L.S. Ayres, Lazarus, Marshall Field's, Filene's and Kaufmann's remain cool to the rebranded Macy's stores, some analysts say. Cincinnati-based Federated changed nameplates of 400 former May Department Stores locations to Macy's in September, along with product selection.

Britt Beemer, a retail analyst and chairman of America's Research Group, estimates that former May locations may have lost 10 percent to 20 percent of their shopper base from a year ago.

"Clearly, Macy's stores have not won over the May customers to the degree that I thought they would," he said. "They need to rethink how they can attract customers."

hoosiers just don't like macy's as much as they liked ayres and lazarus. they don't seem to be as pissed off about the loss of ayres as chicago was about the loss of marshall field's, but they're just not hyped about macy's.

according to the article, federated remains convinced that this strategy is sound. and of course they'd say that: the damage is done, so they might as well carry on. trying to reverse things and un-rebrand the stores wouldn't help, and macy's knows this. but these days, with the increasing ease and popularity of online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers need brand loyalty more than ever to draw shoppers in. the old may brands like ayres and marshall field's had that brand loyalty, and federated threw it away.

1 comment:

dj empirical said...

this is what happened (i believe) when Tires Plus bought Michel Tire -- they changed to Tires Plus for a while, then surreptitiously turned into Michel Tires Plus, splitting the difference.