Macy’s opens in an outlet mall (sort of)

A lot of hand-wringing recently on RetailWire with Macy’s announcement that it is opening a store in the Gurnee Mills mall north of Chicago. Here’s my contrarian point of view:

It helps to understand the marketplace in order to grasp why Macy’s chose this location. The closest Macy’s store is 15 miles to the south, and there is a lot of growth and population density around the far northern Chicago area. Meanwhile, the closest store to the north (opening next spring) is sixty miles away in suburban Milwaukee. There is clearly enough “commerce” in a trade area where nobody will be building a regional mall anytime soon.

The “outlet mall” in question (Gurnee Mills) is a Simon-run hybrid including big-box stores like Sears and Kohl’s. So there is really nothing incompatible about a Macy’s store in this location, assuming it’s a small-format store with the “My Macy’s” target merchandise strategy in place.

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