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Macy’s is Our 2018 Retail Most Valuable Player

Macy’s is Our Wolfe Pack Retail Ratings 2018 Most Valuable Player


Macy’s has had a rough last couple of years but they didn’t give up and have fought tooth and nail to make their way back. To do so, the iconic retailer has:

  • Gone all-out with its store-within-a-store concept and partnered with leading digitally-native brands, including Facebook 
  • Hired employees to be influencers
  • Acquired disrupter Story
  • Launched a new partnership with b8ta for a brand-agnostic tech store within its store 
  • Tackled the look-and-feel of its stores and invested approximately $200 million this year on 50 of its best stores to add new lighting, flooring and other fixtures (via CNBC)
  • Diversified into the healthy off-price trend. Macy’s has opened about 165 Backstage stores within its stores. The company reports 2x more shopping trips, with basket sizes up an average of 30%. (via CNBC)
  • Accommodated for omnichanneling by creating BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) lines in the hopes customers that pickup their online purchases in-store will also add a few more items to their purchase
  • Updated and upgraded its app and rewards program which now allows non-credit card holders to earn points, and offers other cool things like an augmented reality furniture shopping tool


The results seem to be paying off. Macy’s:

  • Expects its mobile sales will reach $1 billion by the end of the year
  • Reduced its debt in the last seven quarters from $6.9 billion to $5.5 billion
  • Has experienced growth at the same-store and company-wide levels (see graphics below)

Sales at Macy’s stores open for at least 12 months (on an owned basis, as a %)


(Data source: eMarketer; Graphic: Wolfe Retail Group)

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Macy’s Gets 2.5 Paws Up!

It’s 2.5 Paws Up for Macy’s!

While Macy’s has gotten a bad rap in the last couple of years, we think they’re on their way to making a comeback. Ignoring the recent data breach, Macy’s has been making an effort to reposition itself and play on at least some of its assets.

For example:

  • They’ve recently started to work more closely with influencers, well-known ones with established followings and even more interesting, using its store employees and stylists as Instagram influencers to drive salesRead more here.
  • They’re extending their store-within-a-store concept to include pop-up marketplaces which are meant to drive traffic back repeatedly to view what’s next, similar to Story which they recently acquired
  • Although they’re still trying to figure this out, Macy’s also jumped into the popular off-price segment by opening Backstage

While they’re stumbling in some of these initiatives, we give them credit for making a go of it and for being willing to fight to stay in the game. They’re choosing interesting trends, tapping into their biggest assets–such as beauty, an audience, and real estate–and seem to have stopped looking back to look toward a brighter future for the brand.

We look forward to your comments on LinkedIn here.