In an effort to bring consumers back to brick-and-mortar retailers, Macy’s has brought their new outlet store concept, Backstage, to existing Alabama Macy’s stores in Riverchase and Brookwood.
Although the soft openings took place earlier this month, grand opening celebrations took place on June 17 for the 16,000-square-foot stores in Riverchase Galleria and Brookwood Village. These two openings make 20 Backstage stores nationwide, but they’re the very first in the state.
The outlet concept shops may be located within existing Macy’s department stores, but they offer products at 20% to 80% cheaper than what customers normally find at Macy’s. That said, there’s little crossover in inventory; the outlet concept maintains separate buyers, designers, and lines. However, customers can find everything from clothes and accessories to luxury purses and home decor at these Backstage locations.
Unlike Macy’s, their Backstage stores don’t offer sales, coupons, or other discounts. This is due to the fact that their merchandise is already heavily discounted. It’s a “what you see is what you get” kind of store; Backstage locations don’t even have stock rooms, so there’s no way to check “in the back” for an item — the back doesn’t exist.
Macy’s plans to open 30 more Backstage locations by the end of 2017. In a digital world that has a rapidly shifting presence towards e-commerce retailers, stores like Macy’s have to get creative if they want customers to get in their cars and shop in person. In fact, the current CEO of Macy’s, Jeff Gennette, recently vowed the retailer will capture the attention of consumers in any way they can.
His work will be cut out for him, though. Not only did Macy’s post a 4.6% decline in comparable sales last quarter — analysts predicted sales would dip only by 3.5% — but many locations may not even have a home base within a few years’ time. Destination malls like Houston’s Galleria receive 35 million worldwide visitors every year, but smaller shopping centers are struggling to get by.
As a result, Macy’s is attempting to build up its e-commerce site and focus on Macy’s capsule collections to make the brand more exclusive. But they’re also being forced to cut costs. They will be reducing their overall inventory and, most notably, are closing 100 of their stores deemed to be underperforming. This last move will eliminate 4,000 jobs from the Macy’s workforce, adding to the 6,200 job cuts already announced back in January.
Whether these efforts, along with the addition of Backstage locations, will pay off for Macy’s remains to be seen. In the meantime, Alabama shoppers would do well to snag some good deals while they last.
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