Macy’s North: It’s Lonely In Here

(Photo: Wonder what these folks want? Apparently not Macy’s cards.)

If you thought you heard a citywide refrain of “I told you so” yesterday, you weren’t imagining things. According to a report in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune, Federated finally admits feeling financial pain over a hardcore group of former Marshall Field’s shoppers who quit shopping the chain when the nameplate was switched to Macy’s last fall.

How much pain? According to the Trib, since the September name change, sales for the midwestern Macy’s North division are down more than ten percent versus this time in 2005, including an absolutely astounding drop of 11 percent just from October to November of this year. What’s more, shares of parent-company Federated have dropped 16 percent in the past six weeks.

So if you’re a former Field’s shopper who’s recently gotten a big-money coupon in the mail, or an unexpected personal call from a real live Macy’s marketing person, now you know why. (And if you’re Federated-honcho Terry Lundgren, you’re learning the hard way how not to take lightly Hogtown cultural history, as I previously opined here, here, and here).

Analysts quoted in the article lay blame squarely at Federated’s feet, for ramming the name change so quickly down the throats of Chicago shoppers and almost completely underestimating the depths of Second City loyalty for the hoary, homegrown Field’s nameplate. The experts do say they expect Macy’s sales will eventually recover.

Maybe. But not without Federated enjoying a nice plate of crow this holiday shopping season, because the same analysts all but say that in its hubris, the retail giant has pretty much killed its chances of having a strong Christmas in Chicago.

I’d like to sit down and write Lundgren a big, fat, “I told you so” letter, myself. Really, I would. But I have to go hit the South Loop Target to finish off my holiday shopping.

Give the lady–or gent–what they want, indeed.

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