Macy's

Macy’s

Introduction

Rowland Hussey Macy established the American department store company Macy’s (formerly known as R. H. Macy & Co.) in 1858. Since being purchased by the holding firm Federated Department Stores in 1994, which later changed its name to Macy’s, Inc. in 2007, it has served as a sister brand to the Bloomingdale’s department store chain. As of 2015, it was the biggest department store chain in the US based on retail sales.
In the US, Macy’s has 508 operating locations.In the Manhattan borough of New York City, near Herald Square, is the company’s flagship store. As of January 2023, the corporation employed 94,000 people and brought in $25.3 billion in sales annually.
In August 2021, WHP Global announced that Toys “R” Us is opening 400+ stores within Macy’s starting in 2022.
Macy’s is well-known for its extravagant holiday decorations, which draw thousands of residents and tourists to New York City every year. There are six distinct scenes with diverse themes displayed in the windows along the Broadway side. Macy’s is a popular restaurant, especially around the holidays when people are celebrating.

Macy's

Is Macy’s The Biggest Store in the World Still Needed?

Situated at one of the most prominent locations in midtown Manhattan, Macy’s at Herald Square proudly displays its title as the “World’s Largest Store” on the façade facing Broadway and 34th Street. The retailer hopes that the imposing signage, which exudes a certain mystique, would elevate its whole countrywide chain of 512 department stores.
The ten retail levels of Macy’s Herald Square store housed one million square feet when it first opened in November 1902. The square footage was expanded further in 1924 and 1930 to a total of 2.185 million. By the middle of the 1930s, Macy’s had made extensive use of the tagline “World’s Largest Store” in numerous promotions and ads.

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Macy’s Herald Square has been the company’s flagship store for the last 119 years. Herald Square is the retailer’s “most valuable asset,” as it has frequently stated. The building’s estimated value, including the land it rests on, is between $3 and $4 billion.

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2019 saw the initial announcement by Macy’s that an 800-foot-tall office skyscraper would be built over the Herald Square shop. An additional 6000 office workers are expected to be added to the already densely populated neighborhood by the new glass skyscraper, spanning 1.5 million square feet. Situated directly below the store, the 34th Street subway station is the third busiest in the system and would need major renovations to handle more passenger traffic.
In February 2020, Macy’s declared that the project would proceed, despite rumors of the company’s unstable financial situation and a “potentially thorny” zoning modification procedure. The store began holding meetings with prominent businesspeople and community organizations who expressed similar worries about the idea.

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But when Covid closed the store and the city last March, everything came to an abrupt stop. It seemed as though overnight the Herald Square neighborhood went from being a thriving business hub to a commercial graveyard. For three months, in-store customers were not allowed to enter The World’s Largest Store.
Thankfully, after a year of Covid, there are indications of progress and hope. Despite a noticeable reduction in store hours, Macy’s has not closed any of their Herald Square sales area.
The department store has seen an increase in foot traffic from customers. Tourism officials in the area are hopeful that a decrease in infection rates and a rise in immunizations could kickstart the city’s recovery as early as this summer. 38 million tourists are predicted to visit the city in 2021. Though it’s barely half of the visitors from 2019, it’s still a much higher amount than the depressing numbers from 2020.
Furthermore, Macy’s is still working on the skyscraper project. A representative for Macy’s, Orlando Veras, claims that the business has advanced with the application process. “We have laid the foundation for this long-term project that will serve as a massive value-creating development, despite some delays.”

Macy's


The goal of renovating and investing in Macy’s main store spans several decades. At Herald Square, then-CEO Terry Lundgren expressed the desire to “create a luxury component” and “elevate the store experience” in 2013. The main floor of the store now has luxury boutiques by Gucci, Longchamp, Louis Vuitton, and other brands thanks to a $400 million restoration plan.

It’s a long way from the R. H. Macy Co.’s utilitarian, mid-century image, when the store’s tagline was “It’s Smart to be Thrifty.” In 1940, Macy’s had 168 distinct departments selling products like sun dials, megaphones, hectographs, bottle warmers, and castanets. There were over 137,000 sales transactions every day, and there were 55 elevators and 58 escalators to accommodate the patrons. Nine kilometers of counter space were devoted to displaying the items.
Since 2009, when Shinsegae Centum City department store in Busan, South Korea was confirmed by Guinness World Records to have held the title, Macy’s Herald Square has not held the title of World’s Largest Store. With a total area of 5.847 million square feet, Shinsegae is nearly three times larger than Macy’s.
However, it is a little unfair to compare Macy’s to Shinsegae that way. A rooftop theme park, an ice skating rink, a multiplex cinema, and a golf driving range are just a few of the attractions available at Shinsegae Centum City. The interior area, which has distinct shops and boutiques, is more reminiscent of a mall.
The Shinsegae Centum City store does not have wooden escalators, elaborate elevator banks, or large open floor areas. It also cannot lay claim to the Largest Shoe Floor in the World. This accolade goes to Macy’s second floor, which has 280,000 pairs of shoes spread across more than 63,000 square feet. Furthermore, Shinsegae, the first department store in Korea, wasn’t established until 1960.

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Though the title of “World’s Largest Store” is no longer relevant, strength is not always correlated with size. According to Veras, “Our Herald Square store, as the Macy’s brand flagship, stands unique in our portfolio, both for its historical significance to our brand and the City of New York.” “[It] offers consumers a unique Macy’s branded retail experience.”
Many of Macy’s customs have persisted, including its yearly Thanksgiving Day Parade and July 4th fireworks display. The business collaborated with city officials to host and rethink both events for 2020, even during the height of the pandemic.

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Macy’s needs to preserve the prestige of the Herald Square location. Positive perceptions are frequently seen as the business’s “billboard,” masking the fact that the merchant is heavily indebted. The corporation has sold off some significant real estate, including the Brooklyn Fulton Street building, the Chicago State Street building, and the San Francisco Union Square building, in order to obtain much-needed finances. Additional store closings are in the works.
A trip to the Macy’s Herald Square store ought to be an unforgettable experience, complete with an unparalleled and extensive assortment of goods and distinctive culinary options. At the enormous store, innovation and development must always be desired. Shoppers and tourists who want to visit the store and come back to make further purchases are essential to its ongoing success.
In the end, operating a retailer these days is difficult enough, let alone running the “World’s Largest Store.”

Criticism and controversy

Eliot Spitzer, the state attorney general of New York at the time, began looking into the private policing approach Macy’s was using to deal with alleged shoplifters in July 2003. A civil rights complaint and an article in The New York Times that detailed several of Macy’s strategies, such as private cells and interrogations, served as the impetus for the investigation. Many of Macy’s activities, including handcuffing detainees and conducting ethnic profiling, were found to be illegal by Spitzer’s probe. Macy’s settled the civil rights complaint in 2005 for $600,000 (which translates to $899,029 in 2023). The company claimed to have terminated the illegal practices while keeping the security system in place.

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On June 6, 2006, two mannequins and the AIDS Action Committee’s Web address were taken down from a window display advertising Boston’s annual gay pride festival at Macy’s downtown Boston store, which was once the Jordan Marsh flagship. The mannequins were called “homosexual” by members of Mass Resistance, a local organization that opposed same-sex marriage, and they reportedly put pressure on the retailer to remove them. Following the contentious removal of the mannequins, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was quoted as saying:
That Macy’s would give in to that kind of pressure surprises me much. Macy’s was honoring a segment of our community, homosexual pride, and I think they should be proud of the LGBT community as well as gay pride.
In response, Macy’s released an apology written by Ron Klein, chairman of Macy’s East, in the Boston-area weekly Newsweekly, which has a sizable LGBT readership. Regarding the incident, Klein described it as “an internal breakdown in communication” and added that it was unfortunate that some people might question Macy’s commitment to diversity as a result. The mannequins, on the other hand, were never seen again, even though the Web address was eventually fixed.

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