Macy's thinks America's quarantine-weary kids can't wait to up their style game. The retailer is launching a back-to-school campaign aimed at help them shake the dust off. The ads, shot in a real school, show gleeful kids giddily shaking off their drab learn-from-home outfits, urged to "get back in there."
Macy's plans to run the new ads, produced by Major Behavior, in 15-second versions on network and cable, with more extended versions airing online and in the iconic Herald Square store window.
“Kids are definitely looking for new,” says Matthew Sebra, Macy’s senior fashion director for men’s and kids, “whether that’s an update to their go-to hoodie, now in tie-dye or a more relaxed-fit jean. Importantly, I think they’re looking for new ways to express themselves through their back-to-school wardrobe,” he tells Marketing Daily via email. “While they may not have been live in school seeing what classmates are wearing, they have been on TikTok and YouTube, where creators are celebrated for self-expression. And that impact is sure to be felt when it comes to shopping.”
He says one of the most important trends is simply, cozy. This season, that translates to colorful terry and fleece, with fun graphic tees, tie-dye and printed denim.
Separately, the Cincinnati-based retailer announced that it plans to open its new "Bloomie's" concept later this summer, a much-smaller format of the Bloomingdale's brand.
Opening in Fairfax, Virginia, it promises "a highly curated, ever-evolving store concept filled with top brands, a new tech-enabled stylist service model, and a vibrant restaurant experience."
Other department stores have been toying with high-tech, small stores as a way to gain relevance with an increasingly digital young fashion crowd. Nordstrom, for example, operates several Nordstrom Local stores, which are small hubs with carefully curated fashion selections that also serve as a convenient place to return clothes or retrieve online orders.
Bloomie's, too, will serve as a hub for returns, and in-store or curbside pickup. Plans also call for personalization, customization and alteration services, as well as the Colada Shop, a Caribbean-themed coffee and cocktail bar.
Like other retailers, Macy's is battling its way back from pandemic shutdowns and steep revenue declines, when many Americans drastically cut back on apparel spending. Its most recent quarterly results reported a 63% increase in comparable sales, as well as a 34% jump in digital sales.
Importantly, it claims it brought 4.6 million new customers into the Macy's brand, representing a 23% increase compared to the first quarter of 2019. And it says 47% of those new customers came through the digital channel.