With Sales Off, Macy's Looks To New Marketing Efforts For Holiday

Macy’s says its third-quarter sales fell, and it lowered its outlook for the full year. But the retailer says it is hopeful about the fourth quarter, barreling into the holiday season with new marketing strategies — and the technology to support them.

Same-store sales for the Cincinnati-based retailer fell 0.7%; excluding its licensed products, sales dropped 1.4%. Total sales for the quarter slipped to $6.19 billion, down 1.3% from $6.28 billion in the third quarter of 2013.

Conceding that sales for the period are a disappointment, “we remain optimistic for the fourth quarter based on several factors,” says chairman and CEO Terry J. Lundgren, in its earning release, including its mix of both style and value in holiday merchandise, and “new store, omnichannel and marketing strategies in place that we believe will drive incremental business.” Its Buy Online Pickup in Store option is now available in all Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, same-day delivery tests are running in eight key markets, and it has upgraded its mobile apps.

Women’s Wear Daily reports that Macy’s’ new app helps users find the looks they want by snapping a photo of outfits and uploading them, to find the same or similar products in stock. WWD says Macy’s is the first major U.S. retailer using this technology. 

It has also opened specialty holiday arcades in six of its locations.

Separately, the company says it is bringing back its “Believe” holiday campaign for the seventh season, and in a big way — so big, in fact, that it wants to set a new record for “Longest Wish List to Santa” for the Guinness World Records. (It's hoping to get 1 million letters.) As always, shoppers can mail letters to Santa in special mailboxes in stores, or create them digitally, and via mobile device. For every letter sent, Macy’s donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish campaign, and has raised $8.7 million since the campaign first began.

Additional support for the Believe effort includes a nationally televised animated special, activity guides for teachers, and a school musical program. And on Dec. 12, it will celebrate “National Believe Day,” also in partnership with Make-A-Wish, which focuses on granting wishes to kids with life-threatening medical problems.

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4 comments about "With Sales Off, Macy's Looks To New Marketing Efforts For Holiday".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 12, 2014 at 6:17 p.m.

    Macy's doesn't have many competitors anymore as in mid range department stores. Lord and Taylor has come to about the same range but does not carry the home goods as Macy's. Others are either higher end or much lower including schlock shops. This runs deeper than Macy's. The mid range shoppers are stretched.

  2. Brian Kelly from brian brands, November 13, 2014 at 12:39 a.m.

    Agree Paula. I'd expand it beyond L&T to Sears, JCP, Kohl's and the regionals (Belk, Dillards et al). Federated's ceiling for Macy's is Bloomies. It is relegated to be middling.
    And so what of mall anchors?
    Retail ain't for sissies!

  3. Robin M. from Media/Adv industry, November 13, 2014 at 3:36 p.m.

    "Macy's doesn't have many competitors anymore" maybe not at the B&M level, but the WWW has opened a global Pandora's Box for Macys Corp. I grew up w/ L&T, but not near a Belk, Kohls or Dillards. But now I shop across all of those, plus more, plur international... digital makes it that easy. Benefit to the locals is that they dont have B&M and that is less sales tax to pay.
    The Sears vs JCP battle is a story in itself, a race to the bottom- very bad images (elderly archaic touting they have been around a 100 yrs). How is THAT inspiring to younger generations who see stores like TJMaxx as fresh/non stop restock- still schlock products in the mix, but more socially positive & inviting message.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 14, 2014 at 12:05 a.m.

    Kohl's is not on par with Macy's. They may have some nice - home goods - stuff sometimes, but shlock compared to Macy's. Same with JCP and Sears (a leg up on appliances, but not prices for them). Dilliards has some comparisons, but I think not in as many markets. Bloomies is more expensive and carries higher end lines. Macy's, as a department store has been left in a unique position and that middle market with attracting buyers from upper and lower incomes. The middle is what is being destroyed until the uppiest crustiest squeezes more out of it.