Macy's Inc advertising & marketing assignments

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Selected Macy's advertising

Macy's Inc is one of America's biggest and best-known upscale retailers, owner of the renowned fashion and home furnishing stores Macy's and Bloomingdale's. Macy's is famous not only in the US but around the globe for its long-established sponsorship of the celebrated Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, as well as a spectacular 4th of July fireworks display. The Thanksgiving parade has been running since 1926 and the 4th of July celebration since 1976. Originally known as Federated Department Stores, the group has gradually consolidated a huge portfolio of regional retail chains to concentrate on just those two store brands. Echoing mergers elsewhere in the US retail industry, it doubled in size in 2005 as a result of the acquisition of mid-market competitor May Department Stores, all of whose local stores converted to the Macy's and Bloomingdale's brands, which had previously operated only in New York. The process was completed when Federated Department Stores changed its own corporate name to Macy's Inc in 2007. Consolidation came just in time to protect the enlarged group from some of the fallout from the economic downturn of the following two years. However, the shift in consumer shopping habits finally caught up with Macy's in 2016, as performance stalled dramatically in the wake of fierce competition from Amazon and other online retailers as well as the likes of Walmart and Target. Yet another serious blow was the forced closure of all stores for much of 2020 as a result of the Covid pandemic. Sales for the year ended Jan 2021 slumped by almost 30% to $17.3bn (down from a high of over $28bn in 2015). A massive impairment and restructuring charge resulted in a net loss of $3.9bn (from net income of $564m the year before). That includes the cost of closing several of its less productive stores, mainly those in low-tier shopping malls. By the end of fiscal 2020, the group retained around 570 department stores under the Macy's name and 55 Bloomingdale's (including a small number of off-price outlets), as well as 162 speciality outposts of beauty and spa retailer Bluemercury, acquired in 2015. The group acquired innovative concept retailer Story - now Story at Macy's - in 2018. Jeff Gennette is group chairman & CEO. Weakened performance in recent years has encouraged rumours of further mergers or potential takeovers. HBC of Canada and even Amazon have cropped up as possible suitors though no deal has materialised.

Capsule checked 24th March 2021

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Advertising expense for Macy's? See ranking of declared advertising costs

Who competes with Macy's? The group competes with a broad range of different retailers. However its most direct competitors include Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Dillard's and Kohl's. See Retailing Sector index for other companies

Historical profile information for Macy's

Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 5th Feb 2020: Like most bricks and mortar retailers, especially those outside the mass-discount segment, Macy's continues to struggle with the shift in consumer spending to online. In the wake of lacklustre performance for the holiday quarter - comparable sales were down a little under 1% - the store announced this week a retrenchment of its retail estate as well as broad cuts to staffing. Macy's said it will cut at least 125 stores over the next three years. The eliminated outlets will be mostly from lower-tier shopping malls. It will also cut around 2,000 jobs - roughly 9% of its workforce - and abandon its dual HQ structure. The second hub in Cincinnati will close, as well as several other regional offices, with all headquarters jobs consolidated in New York. "Our goal is to reclaim and revitalise what a department store should be," Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette told the WSJ. "Department stores are still vital if they are done right. There is viability to having many categories and brands under one roof."

Adbrands Social Media 6th Nov 2018: "The Wonder of Giving". Another day, another deluge of Christmas ads. We're already fed up with all the tinsel and there are still seven weeks to go! In a few years' time, we'll be having to start Christmas shopping in July. Something different is always a special treat, so thank you BBDO New York for finding an original approach for what is presumably the first of several campaigns for Macy's. I think it's fair to say that of all the Christmas ads we've ever seen we've never seen Christmas in space. (We're ignoring that awful John Lewis Man in the Moon fantasy). BBDO takes a good tug on the heart strings with a charming tale of families separated over the holidays. Not by a warzone for a change but by a space station. It's a pleasing wrinkle to what is actually a bit of an old chestnut. Snow in space! Now that's a thing. But imagine having to clean up afterwards.

Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Mar 2018: Ads of the Week: "The Chase". Macy's latest from BBDO New York, hyping the store's Spring fashion, is stylishly done, even if the use of Blondie's 'One Way Or Another' is just a touch cheesy. Much of the good work can be credited to star director Nicolai Fuglsig, who elevates what might have been a slightly pedestrian concept in someone else's hands - "find the true you at Macy's" - into quite a compelling little film. And, guys, if you're worrying about the dog after the first 10 seconds, don't... this isn't United Airlines, after all. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Aug 2017: In a week of big assignments, the single biggest was probably the appointment of BBDO as the new creative agency of record for US retailer Macy's, with an annual spend in excess of $500m. The account was previously handled on a project by project basis by different agencies including BBH and Figliulo & Partners.

Adbrands Weekly Update 9th February 2017: Canadian department store retailer Hudson's Bay Company has made a takeover approach to its significantly larger US counterpart Macy's. Talks are ongoing but may not result in a deal. However, Macy's has been struggling with changes in consumer shopping habits and a sharp decline in traditional physical retail. There's also a management change ahead. Longtime leader Terry Lundgren has already announced plans to retire this year, to be succeeded by merchandising chief Jeff Gennette. Meanwhile HBC's executive chairman Richard Baker has built an impressive reputation as a smart operator, not least for his keen eye for undervalued real estate. Under his command, HBC expanded into the US with the acquisition of Lord & Taylor and Sak's, and into Germany with a deal for Galeria Kaufhof. If a full merger with Macy's doesn't come off, he may structure an alternative deal for some of its real estate. He is also said to have maintained communication channels with another potential target, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.


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