Macy’s announces a strategic retreat

One of the biggest news stories of the summer was Macy’s announcement that it will close 100 stores (out of roughly 700) in 2017. Here are some of my observations from RetailWire panel discussion:

Whether Macy’s stops cannibalizing its own sales depends on where it closes stores. It seems clear that after a long period of acquisition (especially the May Company locations) that it is finally owning up to an unsustainable real estate portfolio. It’s also clear — from a random sampling of Macy’s visited around the country over the past year — that the company has not been prepared to make the necessary capital investments to keep some of its stores fresh and shoppable.

But painting this move as part of an omnichannel-driven “reinvention” is not the whole picture. The fact remains that Macy’s has plenty of work to do on overassortment, on low levels of customer service, and on a stale marketing program. Closing 100 stores may peel off Macy’s least profitable locations, but will the move address some of the company’s underlying issues?

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