Macy’s recently announced plans to open the first Macy’s Backstage distribution center, which will be completed fall of 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. The new center will employ about 400 employees, who will supply the off-price division of the department store just in time for the holidays.
Backstage is booming and it’s now become one of Macy’s top growth initiatives. Throughout the year, Macy’s will triple the number of off-price stores currently on the map.
“Macy’s Backstage brings great deals, the thrill of the hunt and fun into our existing Macy’s locations,” says Michelle Israel, Macy’s SVP of Off-Price. “The focus is on value and newness.”
“Management's willingness to commit capital to this project—and to the store renovations needed to open new Macy's Backstage outlets—indicates that Macy's leadership continues to see Backstage as one of the biggest opportunities for the retail icon to improve its sales and earnings performance,” says Adam Levine-Weinberg, A Senior Industrials/Consumer Goods specialist with The Motley Fool.
Levine-Weinberg also explains that Macy’s has also adjusted the Backstage merchandise assortment to drive even more sales. It’s been a while since we visited the off-price store, so, we decided to return to Backstage a year after our local store’s grand opening to see what’s changed.
We’re assuming every Macy’s Backstage store is unique, but there were some definite updates we noted at our location. The biggest change was the expanded footwear section that was relocated at the main entrance. The brands and styles were familiar from our last visit, but the volume of shoes available has definitely increased.
To our surprise, the small activewear section we noticed on our first trip did not expand. With athleisure still keeping pace in the retail sector, we were left scratching our heads as to why Macy’s wasn’t investing more into this category. But maybe the retail giant knows something we don’t!
Believe it or not, Macy’s Backstage now has small clearance tables throughout the store. These lackluster sections are too “rummage-like” for even this off-pricer, and the pricing didn’t vary enough from the rest of the regular-priced inventory.
Overall, we’re glad to see Macy’s Backstage ramping up off-price efforts in the coming year. Walter Loeb, a Contributor for Forbes, said it best, “It is a new competitive play for an old brand.”