Friday, September 08, 2006

Macy's: too much a part of your life

Say goodbye to Marshall Fields, Chicago. No more Filene’s Basement, Boston. St. Louis, put Famous-Barr out of your memory. Sayonara as well to Hecht’s, Kaufman’s, Meir & Frank, and in California, Robinsons-May and May Co. In their infinite goliath wisdom, Federated Department Stores will re-name all of these grand old chains Macy’s. It’s like George Steinbrenner buying every team in the American League and calling them all the Yankees.

In many malls now where Federated bought up its competitors there will be as many as three Macy’s in the same location. Boy, the competition should be fierce. Expect big sales.

Same in Los Angeles radio where the two competing all-news stations, KFWB and KNX are not only owned by the same company but housed in the same building, and SHARE the same newsroom.

It’s bad enough there’s no such thing as anti-trust laws anymore. Forget the public being protected from monopolies. At least these giant corporations could PRETEND to not be evil empires.

What is the benefit of changing venerable beloved Marshall Fields to Macy’s…especially in Chicago where they hate all things New York anyway? When you buy these department store chains isn’t a large part of what you’re paying for the name? With the name comes a trust and tradition that translates to customer loyalty, doesn’t it?

In all the articles I’ve read about this name changeover I’ve not seen one justification for it, not by a Federated official or anybody. Even if they said, "Someone screwed up and ordered fifty-six million order forms that say Macy's so we have to use them up." At least that would be something. All they will say is “Give us a chance” and promise a catchy new jingle to the tune of “Dancin’ in the Streets” (as opposed to protests in the street which is what’s happening right now in Chicago). I would love to know their rationale. And they must have one, right? I mean, a monolithic corporation with all the research data and upper level management genius available to them couldn’t possibly just go off and do something incredibly stupid and irreparable could they? Naahhhhhhh. Of course not.

Thirsty anybody???


Mary Stella said...

It's already happened in Florida when Macy's "partnered" with Burdines. First the stores were Macy's-Burdines, now they're only Macy's. I remember almost 30 years ago, there used to be Bambergers stores, too, that were taken over by Macy's.

World domination takes time, I guess.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of when Nestle decided that the U.S. branding of "Quik" had to be re-named "NesQuik." Something like "We're trying to standardize the brand world-wide" As if Gutaemalans in a Kansas supermarket would buy Bosco because they couldn't find their beloved NesQuik on a Kroger's shelf.

I don't get it.


Anonymous said...

Home Savings becomes Washington Mutual. Buy your Thrifty's Ice Cream at Rite-Aid, and your Lucky's pharmacist is at Albertson's. I read about my LA Dodgers (owned by a guy from Boston) in the LA Times (owned by a company from Chicago) and watch them on MyFoxLA (owned by an Australian).

Let's face it, Los Angeles has not been a winner in the business wars, and the corporate egos that insist on throwing away years of consumer goodwill in the pursuit of 'branding' are shortsighted idiots.

Or maybe I'm just cranky, because I was going to buy a new Plymouth when my Oldsmobile wore out, but now it appears I have to make other plans.

The Curmudgeon said...

I wish I were rich enough that I could afford to be as stupid as the folks from Federated. And when the stores go BK, they'll still be rich.

Macy's -- great Christmas movie -- but it's a New York thing.

New York things are fine in New York. Unwelcome here in Chicago.

Grubber said...

Don't know those chains, but as for a reason?
Short memories and costs.

Cheaper to brand one rather than several chains, and the majority of the public will forget about the original store name eventually. There's an old saying along the lines of no-one ever got poor under estimating the stupidity of the public. According to Jim kind of confirms this theory.

i don't necessarily agree with running only one brand, but the reason no explanation would or will be given, again, keep the name out of it, explanations lead to discussions and debates, just what they don't need.

Just sucks all round really.

Anonymous said...

Remember when Savon became Osco and they eventually had to change it back to Savon? Now CVS is making the same mistake (because they know nothing about Southern California, just like Osco didn't).

VP81955 said...

Well, if the White Sox face the Yankees in the AL playoffs this year, their battle cry can be, "Win one for Marshall Field's!"

Anonymous said...

It's been that way for 20 years in Texas with Little Rock-based Dillard's, which either acquired the space at malls formerly occupied by Foley's -- which it bought out -- or by simply buying out the space formerly held by Sakowitz, which was a victim of the 1980s oil bust in the state that only Neiman-Marcus of the two Texas luxury department stores was able to survive.

(Total monopoly of mall space isn't a good thing, but if there's still another store or two in competition with Macy's in its new locales it's not the worst thing in the world, since it will allow them to do the same thing Dillard's has done, which is split their clothing sections into a men's-only store and a women's-only store. Bigger selections, and you and the little woman can go your own way while shopping in different areas of the mall).

Cap'n Bob said...

Seattle had the Bon Marche. Macy's took it over and called it Bon Marche Macy's. Then, shorty thereafter, just Macy's. Meanwhile, the Macy's at the mall went bust. I can't figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Ken, Filene's Basement was spun off as a separate company in the 80's and is still around today.

And I'm sure folks in Minneapolis and Detroit are enjoying the schadenfreude...when the May Co. acquired their local store chain (Dayton's and Hudson's, respectively), they rechristened them Marshall Field.

Lenny said...

Growing up in Detroit area I got to see a lot of that before (and after) the family packed up and left... Perry's and Arbor became RiteAid and CVS, NBD, First of America, and Standard Federal became BankOne, National City, and LaSalle Bank... and yes, Crowley's and Hudson's became Value City (!) and, full-circle, Marshall Field's. And now Macy's.

Lenny said...

And I missed the above comment already mentioning Hudson's :^P

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter anyway. In five years, we'll have to get our Starbucks in the men's department. And boxer shorts with a capuccino to go.

Anonymous said...

Heard what they're doing to smooth things over? This Saturday (9/16) they are running a "Shop for a Cause" promo. For a $5 donation, which will be given to local charities at every Macy's location, you receive a card for 20% off everything in the store all day. They even got Susan Sarandon to do the TV spots for it.

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