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Macy's opens small stores outside malls

A new "Market by Macy's" store will open in Evergreen Park, Illinois, just outside Chicago
Macy's Herald Square

U.S. luxury department store chain Macy's continues to look for ways to expand its network of small format stores. The company is moving away from classic shopping centers, seeking to open outlets in the format of street retail.

For example, a "Market by Macy's" store will open in Evergreen Park, Illinois, outside of Chicago, in the fall of 2022. Earlier, the retailer announced the launch of three new-format stores and one Backstage-branded store.

"Market by Macy's" will also replace the full-size department store at Chesterfield Commons in St. Louis, which the retailer decided to abandon earlier this year. In addition, another small-format store is scheduled to open at Johns Creek Town Center in Suwanee, Georgia.

"We want to be convenient and we want to make it easy,” Marc Mastronardi, Macy’s chief stores officer, said in an interview. “Customer behavior just keeps changing. And the more that we have the agility as an organization to shift and react, this feels like the next natural evolution."

Market by Macy's

The retailer is developing a new retail concept, "Market by Macy's," beginning in 2020 as part of 'Polaris' updated strategy. The first opening in Texas came in the midst of a pandemic that threatened employee layoffs and the temporary closure of thousands of stores across the country. The next Market by Macy's launch had to wait nearly a year. And today, the retailer is finally ready to announce a larger expansion of the new format. By the end of the year, the total number of stores will reach eight.

"Market by Macy's" will open in top pedestrian locations rather than located within shopping malls. The assortment of retail outlets includes goods in line with the latest fashion trends.

Macy's to Close 125 more Department Stores

Retail experts note that "opening more smaller formats is a sensible move for Macy’s and there are many advantages to the strategy". Ultimately, however, there is "no evidence that what they’re doing is needed nor that it will be competitive, either in merchandising or pricing". After all, in recent years, every attempt by Macy's to create a new smaller retail format has ended in failure.

Opening stores in small formats is something of a trend in American retail in recent years. Other major companies experimenting with formats include Gap to Nordstrom. And retailer Kohl's has already announced plans to open 100 small outlets within four years. As for Macy's, the retailer last year also opened its first greatly reduced Bloomingdale's, called Bloomie's.

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