Private Brand Goes Contemporary at Macy’s

New York-based department store giant Macy’s is aiming for hip with an aggressive move deeper into the increasingly competitive contemporary fashion market. The new strategy will escalate its underdeveloped contemporary business and spice up its Middle-America image.

Contemporary departments, called Impulse, will grow from the current 200 stores to 220 this year, and up to 400, giving the retailer a advantage over competitors. Established and emerging designers, even a few Europeans that previously would have been inclined to go with H&M or Target before Macy’s, will rotate in and out of the Impulse mix via exclusive Private Brand collections. Kinder Aggugini, a designer from London with a rock ’n’ roll edge, is up first, to be followed later by Karl Lagerfeld, among others.

And a new Private Brand, called Bar III, will “anchor” the Impulse boutique space. Bar III will be launched with Macy’s first-ever pop-up store at 156 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District here. The shop opens February 10 and will operate for five weeks.
Macy’s officials said they are not currently looking at additional real estate, but may consider the possibility after examining the performance of the Bar III pop-up. About 20 years ago, Macy’s opened some specialty stores, including several selling Aéropostale and Charter Club, two of its Private Brands at the time. The strategy never really took off; Aéropostale became a separate public company, while Charter Club remains a key Macy’s Private Brand.

Macy’s Impulse areas will be delineated with clean, crisp, black and white fixturing and visuals across seven merchandise categories, thereby becoming a “thread” running through many locations. Macy’s aims to grab market share with prices falling below higher-end retailers such as Scoop, Barneys Co-Op, Intermix, Saks and Neiman Marcus, but above cheaper fast-fashion chains like H&M and Forever 21. The Bar III piece will offer pixie dresses, priced $58 to $78, basic tops at $20, and novelty tops and bottoms from $48 to $68. Bar III men’s wear will include pants from $59 to $69, shorts for $39, jackets for $99, suits for $495 and dress shirts and ties for $49.50.

Source: Women’s Wear Daily

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.