Macy’s Backslides More


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Macy’s, Macy’s, Macy’s. Some companies never get it. This past week, Macy’s announced the closing of two regional management centers, which will cut almost 2,000 jobs. Weak business was the primary rationale. But inexplicably, the company also said the move would get it closer to customers. Say what? In our case in Minneapolis, Macy’s is going to “get closer” by eliminating regional market experts and consolidating functions in New York – a retail market that bears no resemblance to ours.

Hey, if you need to cut jobs, cut jobs. But cut the smarmy excuses, too.

But I haven’t yet hit the low point of the announcement – which was proclaiming that Macy’s would add more store service staff in conjunction to the regional center closings. How many? A whopping 250. How many stores does Macy’s have? Over 800. That’s less than .3 additional people per store – for a chain that’s losing customers in droves because the previous staff cutbacks have left stores understaffed and employee morale in the toilet.

Macy’s CEO should apprentice at Best Buy – which cut over 10% of corporate staff and plowed all the money saved and more into expanding floor sales staffs and properly training salespeople. Time was when I wouldn’t go into a Best Buy unless desperate, just like I won’t go into Macy’s. But Best Buy won back my business, while Macy’s continues trying to win new business by cutting costs. Reminds me of another half-dead retailer that shot itself in the foot (or perhaps the head) by cutting customer contact costs, Circuit City. But some companies never figure out that you can’t be profitable without customers.


  1. Dick,

    Macy’s attracts customers for one reason, price. I never go to Macy’s unless the product is on sale. This doesn’t create a great hardship for me because Macy’s has a new sale every week which I will take advantage of if I am in the market. However, if the item I am looking for is not on sale at Macy’s (or they have not let me know), I will go to several preferred stores. I am indifferent to Macy’s and by having disengaged employees, Macy’s fuels this indifference.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.
    Author of Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company

  2. John – thanks for your comment. I confess, I will go in there if something we need is half-off. This is very painful for Twin Cities shoppers because we’ve gone from Dayton’s, a high-touch department store that was a shopping destination; to Marshall-Field’s, where service and the merchandise suffered; to Marchall-Field’s under May Company management, about 5 more rungs down the ladder; to Macy’s, the equivalent of falling off the ladder. But I’m sure there’s opportunity to sink lower – before the smell of embalming fluid overcomes what started as a department store equal to Nordstrom’s.



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