Macy’s Has Big Plans for an Old Brand

Just in time for the holidays, one major store is making a comeback.

With much of the country sweltering under record heat, it’s unlikely that most people are even thinking of back-to-school sales let alone Christmas shopping. 

But hard pressed brick-and-mortar retailers have to, even as they face a daunting series of challenges. 

in addition to the long-standing troubles facing them in a world of online shopping and delivery, retailers are up against supply chain woes, staffing challenges, the highest inflation in 40 years, and rising rates that make inventory decisions even more challenging. 

The struggles of big retailers have been long and hard. JCPenney  (JCP) – Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report filed for bankruptcy early in 2020 and that wasn’t even because of the pandemic, it was decades in the making. The retail giant had not reinvented their inventory to draw in customers and keep up with what and how customers want to shop. JCP’s restructuring has kept it going, for now.

Sears and Kmart also struggled to stay relevant. They are now a part of one parent company Sears Holding Corp  (SHLDQ)  and both are two shelves of their former selves. One could argue that Sears was taken down by its former CEO Eddie Lampert who was in charge when its final demise took place. Others can argue that the demise of both retailers were longer in the making.

Department Stores Struggle

Kohl’s  (KSS) – Get Kohl’s Corporation Report was on the brink of selling to Franchise Group Inc.  (FRG) – Get Franchise Group Inc. Report when it abruptly cut off talks over the purchase, citing a volatile market as the reason. They’ve instead had to come up with a new strategy to entice customers. In one case they have launched Discover @ Kohl’s where they will have a spotlight on certain brands and shopping themes during different parts of the year.

Target  (TGT) – Get Target Corporation Report is one department store that has been able to not only keep up with the times but has also done a decent job competing with Amazon  (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com Inc. Report to boot. Most recently Target took on Amazon Prime Days with their Target Deal Days.

And then there’s Macy’s.

The venerable retailers has a different idea to deliver on both back to school and getting ready for the season of giving and shopping.

Macy’s  (M) – Get Macy’s, Inc. Report is already working their back-to-school specials, but don’t let that confuse you. They are preparing for the holiday season as well. Macy’s is relying on nostalgia to help them this year through a partnership with the Toys “R” Us brand left over in the wake of that retailer’s bankruptcy a few years ago. 

New Toys “R” Us departments are set to hit every Macy’s store by mid-October. The pitch of a Toys “R” Us department in its regular stores allows Macy’s to draw customers knowing they can shop for the adults and kids in their families in one place during the holidays.

Shoppers will be able to join in the nostalgia of shopping a Toy “R” Us experience with a photo op with a life size Geoffrey the Giraffe. Hands-on experiences with the toys will be a stop, shop and try opportunity that is new to Macy’s. Try it before you buy it, if you will. Lots of toys try to offer that by having a button you can press while the toy is still in the package. This will be a much more hands on experience, according to the company. The toy section of Macy’s dubbed Toys “R” Us may go all the way up to 10,000 square feet in its largest stores.

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