Macy’s sales problems: It all begins with content

To echo the last post (about JCPenney’s apparel business), here is a RetailWire post about Macy’s. I contend that a lot of Macy’s current sales weakness could be corrected if assortment issues were addressed more forcefully:

Macy’s problems are emblematic of some of the issues that BrainTrust panelists have been discussing recently:

1. Like JCPenney, Macy’s has a merchandising problem at the root of its sales issues. Its women’s apparel, in particular, looks overassorted and too deep in overlapping private brands without a clear point of view. Merchandise content is at the heart of most retailers’ sales problems, I believe, regardless of short-term hiccups caused by weather.

2. Macy’s was a leader in “omnichannel” and is still tying its growth strategy in part to this wagon. Like other department stores, Macy’s is learning that it is tough to maintain service levels appropriate to its brand at the same time that it is asking store associates to execute BOPIS and ship-from-store orders.

3. Macy’s is looking at new formats like Backstage to drive sales, instead of finding solutions inside its own anchor stores. It’s a case of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and chasing off-price competitors instead of focusing on whatever the Macy’s brand is supposed to stand for.

It’s a complex set of issues to address, but it all starts with merchandise content.


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