What's Wrong With Macy's? Second Quarter Profit Drops 77%

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Macy’s has cut their yearly outlook after their second quarter profits dropped 77%. What’s the big problem?

The merger with May has not gone well for Macy’s, and they’re having trouble integrating the Marshall Field’s stores. From the Sun-Times:

Profits were hurt by higher-than-expected costs of integrating more than 400 former May Department Stores, including the Marshall Field’s chain. Macy’s bought the May Department Stores for $11 billion in August 2005.

But cost cuts helped shrink selling, general and administrative expenses.

Sales at the former Marshall Field’s and other May stores continue to disappoint, but are closing the gap in performance with long-time Macy’s stores, Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet said in a conference call with analysts.

The gap should close next year, but the converted Marshall Field’s stores might take longer to gain acceptance, Hoguet said. Long-time Macy’s stores were hurt by missteps in color and style in ready-to-wear clothing in the spring. Hoguet said Macy’s executives believe they have the right fashions for fall, such as denim, wide-leg pants and novelty jackets and coats.

Are they really that shocked that the Marshall Field’s faithful have stayed away from Macy’s? Are wide-leg pants the answer?

Tell us: What’s wrong with Macy’s?

Macy’s cuts outlook after profit falls 77 percent for the quarter [Chicago Sun-Times]
(Photo:Meghann Marco)

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Edit Your Comment

  1. bonzombiekitty says:

    Wide leg pants? Thank you :) I like baggier pants – they’re way more comfortable. How anyone can stand the tighter pants is beyond me.

  2. chimmike says:

    what’s wrong with ’em?

    They’re expensive. They have TERRIBLE customer service. Nobody really likes what they sell?

  3. Jean Naimard says:

    You obviously haven’t tried spandex. You put those on, you never want to wear anything else.

  4. Toof_75_75 says:


    Exactly…they have the worst customer service around…If they sold cell phone service, they’d be Verizon’s twin.

  5. BoorRichard says:

    Take menswear, for example. In my area, Macy’s stocks only the bottom-of-the-mall-barrel crap (Calvin Klein, Izod, Geoffrey Beene, Nautica) that all comes from only one or two big companies. Everything is mainly the same with the very slightest differences. About one in four days, this stuff is on sale, say 30 to 50% off.

    Two blocks down the road, TJ Maxx sells the exact same stuff at 50% every day of the week.

    Four blocks down the road, Gabriel Brothers sells the exact same stuff (though the tags are sometimes cut out) at 75% every day of the week.

    Why buy menswear at Macy’s? They do not add enough value with their bland interior stylings and kind but poorly informed sales staff.

  6. Archteryx says:

    What they did to the famous Walnut Room restaurant in the Chicago Marshall Field’s was criminal.

    I went there with a close friend last year, shortly before Thanksgiving. The service was absolutely abysmal. When the waiters’ shifts changes, our table was taken off the list, so we didn’t see our food until we rousted them out personally. Our *checks* took close to 20 minutes to bring to us, and only when we went looking for it personally — again! All the while, the service staff is standing around at the front desk, chatting away.

    To this day I am not sure if were targeted as being “not their kind” (we were in casual tourist dress) or they were just asses, but I’d never seen service that bad before — at ANY restaurant.

    If that’s what they do to that landmark, I don’t even want to know what the rest of the store is like.

  7. Lars says:

    I have to admit to being a pretty big proponent of Macy’s. I never buy anything at face value, but for clothes, there’s always a sale and some of their in house brands are fine on quality. I agree with the comments that their customer service is bad. Being in New England, that is what I miss about Filenes. They definitely had some of the best customer service around.

  8. internal says:

    Macy’s is having trouble because their Service is mediocre at best and their prices are high. When you pay that much for something, you expect high quality service. If you get ‘Old Navy’ treatment, you expect ‘Old Navy’ prices.

    Actually, come to think of it, ‘Old Navy’ has better service usually. Wal-mart may be a better example…

  9. cclarke4 says:

    I will compare Macy’s to Kaufmann’s (the former May Co. store which I shopped at regularly). Macy’s is too expensive. I regularly find the same merchandise at Lord & Taylor and it’s actually cheaper there. Macy’s does nothing to encourage me to shop there–they rarely have sales. I used to receive coupons from Kaufmann’s on a weekly basis, so if I needed something, I went there to get it because there was always a sale. Macy’s sends fliers to me every week, but there are rarely any coupons or sales, and when there are, the list of excluded brands is long. The Macy’s in my area have stopped carrying less expensive clothing lines and now only sell more expensive designer lines. That may be trendy, but it’s not for everyone. And in addition to all of that, the styles they carry are generally just not appealing. Most people I know are disappointed with Macy’s.

  10. Melov says:

    @chimmike: Their customer service was rated top 10 last year. You’re obviously a tool

  11. letoofdune says:


    That’s why it’s worth spending a little more at Men’s Warehouse when I need men’s clothing (clearly, I’m not at the top level of men’s clothes, but still). They’re informed, they can color match, and I’ll pay extra for competent service.

  12. QuirkyRachel says:

    Well let’s see. The Field’s family did a lot for Chicago philanthropy wise. Many of us grew up going to the State Street store to see the Xmas windows, maybe have a meal in the Walnut room. Then Federated Department Stores came in and changed it. I mean, yes, it’s just name, but it was *our* name. It was Midwestern, not some snotty East Coast behemoth. I can’t tell you how much we all snickered when Daley declared the State Street Store a historical building, so Federated can’t grind down the Field’s signs etched into the building.

  13. phrygian says:

    My spending at Macy’s this year went down at least 80% from last year.

    They used to be the place I could rely on to pick up nice, up-to-date clothes for work. Since they merged (with Foley’s around here), the stores seem to have hired someone’s great-aunt in Kansas to do the buying for the misses’ section. The styles they carry now are frumpy, ugly, and generally unflattering.

    The men’s section isn’t even worth a pass-through. Although if you like Dockers, boring packaged button-down shirts and ugly/cheap ties, you’re in luck. (Not that their men’s collections have ever been stellar…)

  14. TheNewDecider says:

    Macys failed to understand that Marshall Fields was a tradition in the Chicago area. The store on State Street is historic and fabulous. One of a kind. Too bad the focus is on wide-leg pants and novelty coats instead of customer service. Marshall Fields didn’t guess at what people wanted, they knew what people wanted because their culture was to know and serve their customers. Macys has pissed away generations of good will and customer loyalty, which cannot be bought. It’s sad to watch.

  15. louisb3 says:

    In the last few years around here, Hudson’s has become Marshall Field’s, which has become Macy’s. That’s poor branding if nothing else.

  16. Bye says:

    I have to say I’ve been a huge macy*s fan since moving to LA from Seattle about 12 years ago. (And after having a Nordstrom’s and a Nordstrom’s Rack close by for so long, I was doubtful.)

    However, I do have to say that this year our local macy*s has evolved into something completely different from what I’m accustomed to.

    I’ve loved macy*s for their ULTRACHEAP sales. Their new stuff is always rather pricey and we exercise a lot of restraint in trying to hone in only on the clearance and sale racks and it pays off nicely. I’ve picked up some wonderful, classic styles for so little money over the years, but as I said, this year – and I assume it has something to do with all of their acquiring – they’re really slipped both in the deals that can be had as well as in the layout and look of their store. We just went there a couple of weeks ago and everything had that half-finished look to it – it made me think of the perpetually screwed-up United terminals at LAX.

    I hope they can turn it around because they really have been a great store for my family.

  17. kaikhor says:

    The problem with Macy’s is that they are WAY too expensive.

    I went looking for a little white sweater to go over a sundress (so I wouldn’t freeze indoors) and the only ones we found were on sale, but they were still over $40! For a little sweater! The friend who went with me said she could crochet something exactly like what were looking at for no more than $8. Instead we went to Penny’s and found something just as good for $16

  18. awelfle says:

    I used to work at Marshall Field’s, and I can tell you that the Field’s brand loyalty is fierce; maybe more than any other department store chain I’ve seen. When Federated bought Field’s, and then Macy’s bought Federated, almost all the regular guests at my store were up in arms about it. Now that Frango mints (a ubiquitous chocolate mint that is synonymous with the Field’s brand) is available at Macy’s, you’d think the customers would be hapy about it? No, they’re upset because “Macy’s stole the Frangos from Field’s”. And this was all in a small Indiana store. I’m not surprised at all that the Chicago market, where Field’s has been a city landmark since the middle of the 19th century, refused to go to Macy’s once they changed.

  19. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    Yes, AWELFLE, but let’s not forget that Frango’s were originated at Seattle’s late, lamented Frederick & Nelson’s (a/k/a Fred and Nelly’s).

    Macys took over Filene’s here in Burlington VT. Now it’s a messy, disorganized, craptastic store.

  20. Kwummy says:

    Living in Chicago I can tell you the store on State St. is DEAD compared to what it was when it was Marshall Fields. It’s just not the same.

  21. protest says:

    where i am from macy’s used to be hecht’s department stores, and i miss it! macy’s sales suck, and the clothing styles they carry, especially for young women around 20-25, are terrible. i still like the shoe department, but that’s about all i’ll buy there anymore.

  22. iluvhatemail says:

    macy’s is great. i used to think it was an overpriced clothing store but my wife takes me there and i always find high-quality t-shirts (the ones that are actually soft) for $7 or less. American Rag jeans for $25 sometimes.

  23. bnosach says:

    I would say your prices is the biggest problem.
    Products should be either fashionable and pricey or WalMart-type and cheap. Macy’s doesn’t fall in either one of these categories.

  24. LuvJones says:

    Went to Macy’s just once and found a pair of $700 jeans on the clearance rack! Went back to work on Monday and my whole section had a good laugh! No more Macy’s for me!

  25. SaraAB87 says:

    Macy’s used to be Kaufmann’s here, and since they switched to Macy’s we have not bought a single thing there because their prices are TOO EXPENSIVE!!! They used to have incredible deals, I bought an interview suit for 30-40$ there and it was beautiful and flattering! They used to have such awesome clothes and sales but now all they have is 90$ jeans. Shoe prices were also very good before they switched with an extensive selection. The store used to be packed with shoppers now it is all but dead. When they are located in a mall with all the hip stores such as abercrombie, hollister and hot topic no wonder they are suffering, the competition is just too stiff and their prices are just too high.

  26. whereismyrobot says:

    The last time I was at Macy’s I was asked six times if I would like to open an account. SIX TIMES! Once while I was in the dressing room after asking my boyfriend.

  27. Becsamillion says:

    I definitely agree with Protest – Hecht’s was my favorite department store far and away. Now that it’s Macy’s I can never find any sales associates, their sales aren’t worth the time (woo, 15% off? Whatev.) and the selection is utterly craptastic. Seriously, every time I go in I just see frumpy, cheap-looking (although still expensive), dated and unstylish clothing. Whoever is choosing their offerings is just horribly misguided.

  28. chicagoshopper says:

    Macy’s is expensive? Not on your life. In Chicago, Field’s used to be a high end store. Macy’s has downgraded most of the clothing brands and made it comparable to Penney’s in my mind. We don’t need anymore of that in Chicago. I work two blocks from the State Street store and used to buy lots of clothes, makeup, or just wander during lunch. I now go out of my way and walk 15 minutes further to buy simple things like mascara at Nordstroms even though Macy’s carries the same stuff. And the clothes! Macy’s private label brands are so cheap and ugly. Do they really think Chicago dresses like that? I’m sick of New Yorkers assuming that we don’t know fashion in Chicago. I just read that Glamorama (great former Field’s event) will have a country singer focus this year. Heeehaaawww Chicago. HELLO??? This is just ridiculous. I give up. My business has been and will continue to be with Nordstrom’s and local boutiques.

  29. BoilerBob says:

    I don’t know about the rest of Macy’s but I do know that they should never have changed the name of Fields to Macy’s. Being a native Chicagoan, we don’t hate New York but we don’t want to be told New York stuff is better then our stuff. Even though they didn’t say it, there was a certain arrogance that Macy’s was going to be a better store. We didn’t want a better store, we wanted the store we wanted. Sometimes the customer is right.

  30. Wormfather says:

    I’ll tell you what’s wrong, they’re infrastructure is AWFUL. The buyers and planners do not work together, they throw money at every problem and they’ve got no long term outlook.

    In short…that’s the story as to why I took a job with LVMH as opposed to Federated (Macy’s).

    My fiancee was all, “but they’re offering you more money” I was all “Yeah, but at the cost of a future”

    They’re going to be bought out by a private firm and then things might get turned around (that last part is spec)

  31. MeOhMy says:

    I don’t get why they are buying up respected smaller names and then deep-sixing them. I think they ran into the same historic loyalty problem with the Strawbridge’s name. Maybe they were selling the exact same stuff, but I always went to Strawbridge’s and never Macy’s. When the Strawbridge’s became Macy’s, I pretty much stuck to Sears and Boscov’s.

    I finally went to Macy’s last weekend – to take advantage of the liquidation sale at the superfluous second Macy’s that used to be a Strawbridge’s. It will probably be the last time I go into a Macy’s until the other one goes under :-)

  32. ExGC says:

    My friends and I have the same attitude about Macy’s since they changed the Marshall Fields stores over. The only time we will enter the store is to walk through and keep warm on a cold winter day. We actively hope that every Federated executive connected with the decision loses his or her job and becomes a pariah in the retail world. Not that we feel strongly about it.

  33. dvddesign says:

    The Macy’s near me used to be Foley’s stores. The first thing they did was get rid of mens big and tall. I can’t shop there anymore. In fact, all the Macy’s in the surrounding 3 malls near my home have no Men’s big and tall. Why would I bother shopping there anymore if they’re not going to cater to me?

    I usually get Gift Cards for holidays to buy clothes, but I had to tell people to stop giving me Macy’s cards because they’re useless to me now.

  34. kpfeif says:

    Macy’s heavy-handed approach with Marshall Field’s has turned off many people in the midwest. They swooped into Chicago, announced the name change, and when people protested, they essentially said, “hey, it’s Macy’s. We’re from New York, therefore we’re better and you’re going to like it.” Bzzzddtt.

    Companies would *die* for the brand recognition and loyalty that Marshall Field’s had…instead Macy’s dumped it. It’s obnoxious.

    No, I’m not from Chicago, I’m from the Milwaukee area. We lost our Marshall Field’s, too. One of my mother’s fondest childhood memories was going to Chicago and going to the State Street Marshall Field’s store. It’s the same for a lot of people. It was an institution, and Macy’s was stupid for changing it.

  35. Murraythedog says:

    As someone who spent part of my youth in Chicago, I totally echo the comments re: Marshall Fields and the State Street store. Every year before going back to school, Mom and I would have a special day where we would go shopping at Marshall Fields and then meet my Dad for lunch in the Walnut Room. It was great.

    Did Macy’s close the Walnut Room? I kind of hope so because I can’t imagine what horrid changes they would have made.

    Fortunately, I no longer live in Chicago, so I can keep my Marshall Fields memories intact without having to see Macy’s sign over them.

  36. thepassenger says:

    If you manage to find something you like, good luck finding a working price scanner. The next challenge is finding someone to ring up your purchase. Good luck with that too. It just becomes not worth it to waste your time there.

  37. INTPLibrarian says:

    A big part of it is loyalty to Marshall Field’s. I loved Field’s and almost always at least walked through the State St. store if I was anywhere near it. Even in the middle of summer, it reminded me of fun and cheery Christmastimes.

    Another equally swaying force is what BOILERBOB mentioned. There was a sense that a big ole’ New York store was telling Chicagoans that their store was better than ours.

    But, nevertheless, I *have* gone into Macy’s a few times, both downtown and at the Oakbrook Mall. Those places are a MESS! Doesn’t anyone there tidy up? Things were randomly shoved on shelves or racks. At Oakbrook, the floor was sticky! Blech.

  38. @Melov: You can’t namecall because someone’s opinion differs from a (likely totally made up) statistic! I happen to agree that Macy’s customer service generally stinks.

    As for my personal reasons for staying away basically boil down to better/cheaper clothes elsewhere and still angry about them killing Burdines. I also find myself avoiding stores as of late, not sure why.

    Last thing I bought there were 2 pairs of discounted Levis (which, surprisingly, is a brand that seems to have actually turned itself around!)

  39. ARP says:

    Odd that many of the responses are similar to the complaints about the Gap in a post a few weeks ago: Too expensive, low/inconsistent quality, I used to love it, hit/miss customer service, disengrating brand cache, going for difficult middle market, etc. Also interesting is that those who do shop there will only shop the big sales (also like Gap and BR) which hurts the bottom line for these brands. Do I detect a pattern?

  40. Ola says:

    I really don’t shop there often due to the expense. I also prefer JC Penney’s because it seems less cluttered in the clothing sections. And, they have better lighting. And, thier juniors’ section doesn’t have the fitting room door blinds facing the wrong way so the salespeople can see in and “make sure you aren’t stealing anything”. :P

    To whoever said they have good customer service – who’s counting? I’ve never been asked if I wanted any help, it’s rather like Robinson’s May used to be.

  41. PDQ2 says:

    I’ve sort of given up on department stores. I’m from Southern Cal and remember Buffum’s (gone), Broadway (gone), Bullocks (gone), Bullock’s Wilshire (gone), Robinsons (gone) and from my days in Texas I remember Sakowitz (gone).

    Neiman Marcus really doesn’t do it for me any more although I do occasionally hit Nordstrom. Generally I’ll shop at two or three smaller men’s stores where I get the service and selection I like. In effect I have a couple of personal shoppers – one in San Francisco and one in Long Beach.

  42. It’s Macy’s Karmic punishment for killing Field’s, and I must say it is RICHLY DESERVED.

    Locally the problem with Macy’s is that the quality is no better than Sears or Penney’s, but the price is twice as much and there are NO SALES ASSOCIATES in the entire store. Since all three are in the same mall, who would bother with Macy’s even if we WEREN’T all pissed about them eating Field’s?

    Our other local midrange department store, which is a Bergner’s (which is apparently the same as a Carson Pirie Scott), has better staffing, better service, similar prices, and better sales.

    Honest to God, our Kohl’s has better service and staffing than our Macy’s. It’s horrific.

  43. GirlCat says:

    Macy’s customer service varies wildly by region. In New York City and
    L.I. it BLOWS. The customer service in their flagship at 34th St is
    horrible, and that’s the store that millions of tourists visit every
    year. Have you ever been to their Brooklyn Fulton Mall store? It’s like
    something out of a post-apocalyptic zombie movie. It has been a mystery
    to me my whole life how Macy’s is able to stay in business.

  44. AriellaFaerie says:

    I am in agreement with Boorrichard. Why buy it at Macy’s when you can wait a few weeks and get it cheaper at TJ Maxx. I grew up with Macy’s in NYC, and even then i liked S5A and Bloomies much better.

  45. AriellaFaerie says:

    @GirlCat: Yes, the Fulton Macy’s is Zombieriffic. I don’t know how it stays afloat, considering the community. The Kings Plaza one is almost as bad. BTW, do you remember A&S or Alexander’s *sigh*

  46. Gizmosmonster says:

    The Stay-Pufft Marshmallow Man.
    That is all I can think about as I watch Macy’s, something safe and beloved from my childhood, the something that could never hurt me, gobble and destroy what little retail nobility is left in our world.

    Way back when (in the late 80’s and early 90’s) there was no internet, no ebay, if you lived in the sticks, you bought what was offered in the sticks. Sears, Younkers and JCPenney. Those were the options.

    To make it worse, my poor mother knew better. She had been dragged from New York to this Midwestern college town by love and children, but she never let us forget what she gave up for us. Only a few things made it bearable, the occasional decent bagels smuggled across the Mississippi river by visiting relatives, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. She gathered us around and got lost for hours, and then, at the end, was Macy’s.

    It was WHERE the “Miracle on 34th Street” happened, where she bought her prom dress, where she bought her wedding dress. To hear the Mom and Nana talk, it was the be all and end all of stylish shopping.

    Now the great name has been sold, and bought, and sold again. It has intentionally become a junk shop, forcing us to rip out coupons and paw through battered sale racks in hopes of finding something that will work for what I need. Most people don’t even know that before it started chasing Wal-Mart down the retail ladder, Macy’s was once a quality store.

    The worst moment of all this was seeing them take down Marshall Fields. It was to my sister’s children what Macy’s was to us. The annual Christmas trip to see the windows, the place to buy the important event clothes…all that quality gobbled up and gone. I stood just inside the State Street store last month and almost cried- piles of junk on sale tables, the beautiful building staring down on what it had lost. And for what? A 77% drop in sales, the inevitable bankruptcy that will force the company to unload property to condo converters and close store after store? Is there any heart left in Macy’s?

  47. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    @QuirkyRachel: You’re exactly right. I’ve outright BOYCOTTED Macy’s after ditching the Fields name. It was bad enough they bought it, but getting rid of the name was enough for me. I’m a ruthless consumer, and I love it.

    For all those in agreement, I have a treat for you: [www.newathens.org]

    That site used to sell that logo on a tshirt. I can’t find how to buy them anymore. If anyone does, post it!

  48. Meg Marco says:

    @GirlCat: @AriellaFaerie: I am afraid to go in there because I value my brains, true story.

  49. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    My experiences at the Greater Cleveland (Ohio) Macy’s conversions:

    -The stores are all inconsistant.
    -The brands are comparable to JC Penneys (A second tier store)
    -The constant insisting that their generic store brands demand a premium price, when they are inferior (in quality) knockoffs to the brands they took away from us (When we had Kaufmann’s, and May Company prior to…)
    -The store staff has changed dramatically, from the midwestern feel of the people we once knew, to the pretentious feel of some effeminate men in our men’s departments, in their pretentious overly black clothing, a la the SNL skit “Sprockets”
    -Poor Advertisement
    -Poor Layouts
    -Jacking up the prices a day before a 15% off sale.

    The list goes on and on… but really, do you need any more reasons? Macy’s entry into Greater Cleveland just meant less selection of shops for me to buy from.

    Macy’s was never really a reasonable choice to purchase from for me.

  50. chimmike says:


    a tool? Because my own personal experience every time I’ve visited various Macy’s stores is their employees are rude, hard to find, and don’t know shit.

    If I’m gonna spend my money somewhere, it’s gonna be where I get customer service or where an employee can answer simple questions about the products they sell.

  51. scoobydoo says:

    @Melov: Pfff.. A survey says the are the best? Well then, you MUST be right.

    WTF cares what a survey says, when the majority of people shopping there think they stink. My bank (Chase) claims it won an award for its online banking, yet its website is still down more than Paris Hiltons underwear.

    They DO suck, and the attitude of their staff is just dismal.

  52. cannedpizza says:

    Why? Duh, Macy’s is a downgrade from the stores they devoured. The Macy’s stores here used to be Filene’s, which had decent stuff and great customer service. Now it’s all the same brands you can find at the TJ Maxx down the street for much less, and Macy’s dowdy store brand crap, which never looks quite right when it tries to follow trends and is horribly overpriced for what it is. And of course, people avoid it because they still feel loyalty to Filene’s.

    At least they left Filene’s Basement alone, since it split off from Filene’s proper. I can’t imagine how depressing a Macy’s Basement would be…

  53. elimseoj says:

    In Durham, NC, we spent a horrendous amount of time trying to get the “new” system to accept a return of one diamond ring for another. It took about a week – telephone calls every day to be sure some action was taken. We won’t ever go through that again – so have not strayed into Macy’s since.

  54. Imaginary_Friend says:

    I only know California Macys, but I echo many of the sentiments expressed here. Macy’s used to be a place where you could go to get quality clothes; now it’s a dump. I think the last time I shopped there was in the 90s.

  55. taylorich says:

    Belk expansion FTW

  56. bedofnails says:

    It’s because they don’t practice “industrial espionage”, and set their prices 10 cents lower than anyone else.

  57. bedofnails says:


    So you haven’t been in a store for 7 years, but feel fit to comment.


  58. scarequotes says:

    Big picture? I think Macy’s problem is that they’re a generalist in a specialist’s world. They sell a little of everything, trying to please everyone, and end up inspiring no one. They don’t have the best of anything — prices, service, selection, atmosphere.

  59. etinterrapax says:

    The only thing I’ve bought there in years is Fiestaware, and that’s because they have regular good sales. Their service has never been anything to write home about, and the clothing is universally frumpy and overpriced. I was so impressed with the Fields store in downtown Minneapolis when I lived there. Higher end, great service, and the kind of atmosphere I imagine department stores had in the days when they’d deliver your purchases same-day. When I heard Macy’s was buying them out, that was the thought that depressed me most. I’m sure it’s nothing special now.

    I think its ubiquity is working against Macy’s now. When I was a kid, Macy’s was New York. It was a big deal to go there, because we had nothing like it. Now, we have about as many Macy’s as Wal-Marts. Ehh, who cares? And they’re learning that it’s really unwise to take away a big component of people’s regional identity. Around here, people hated losing Filene’s, and before that, Jordan Marsh. A friend of mine in Seattle felt the same way about the Bon Marche. I guess no one was really sure where the line was in terms of how much homogenization of the American shopping experience people will stand, and now they’re finding out: the line is where Macy’s ate everything.

  60. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @Bedofnails – No, sweetie. I’ve been in there dozens of times since the 90s, I just haven’t been compelled to buy anything.

  61. Leofan7 says:

    I didn’t approve of Macy’s raping of Foley’s. The Red Apple sales never ceased to be BADASS. Now, the “Red Apple One Day” sales are just a depressing shell of what once was.

  62. JoeInternet says:

    Perhaps they should stop sending me magazine-quality advertisements in the mail two or three times a week? Now I know what happened to the AOL direct mail team!

    What’s more, these “coupons” I receive on a weekly basis are a total scam! It’s like taking skee-ball tickets to the prize counter at the carnival: “You can have anything between the novelty combs and the shot-glasses, but not the erasers or rubber spiders.” They exclude just about anything worth wearing. I miss Dayton’s/Marshall-Field’s!

  63. Cisslepants says:

    1. Sales chaos is deeply unappealing. If you can’t tell if an item is actually on sale (usually because the section is a mess) then you have to ask one of the employees.
    2. Who then turn it into a heavy-handed sales push for their in-store credit card. Which if I wanted, I would have said so the first of the four times I was asked.
    3. The last time I was in there, the dressing room was such a mess that I inadvertently took an ‘active’ room and was deeply embarrassed in my subsequent encounter with the original occupier of the room.
    And this is a new store in a fancy new mall. I hate to think what the older Foley’s in older malls are like.

  64. hoo_foot says:

    Yay, a Macy’s hate thread! I used to be a big Kaufmann’s fan until Macy’s took it over and ruined it. Now I can’t even walk into former Kaufamnn’s stores anymore because the scent formula that Macy’s pumps into the air triggers asthma and headaches. And from the terrible selection that I’ve seen, it doesn’t look like I’m missing much!

    I hope those bastards go bankrupt.

  65. myls says:

    @Rey: I had the exact opposite experience. I grew up with the Bon in Seattle, and didn’t notice too much of a difference between the two stores. I took that to mean that Macy’s didn’t suck, and proceeded to try to shop there after I moved to SoCal. Big mistake. And I’ve noticed the quality go down at Macy’s in Seattle lately as well. Chicagoans, I feel your pain.

  66. MameDennis says:

    I REALLY miss the Amanda Smith line, which Macy’s axed after they bought Kaufmann’s. The clothes were beautifully constructed, classic, and made from good-quality cloth. I doubt I paid more than $30 for a skirt or blouse from AS (count me among the people who miss the good coupons!).

    So… Macy’s disrespected their customers’ affection for local store names, they brought in lower-quality clothes, and they offered them at higher prices. Wow. How could they fail?

  67. selenium says:

    I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life. Marshall Field’s was special, magical. They had the best clothes, the best Christmas windows, the best decorated store–I loved it.

    Macy’s totally miscalculated on changing the name. I stood on the corner outside the building one day and a woman stopped to ask me where Macy’s was. I pointed at Marshall Field’s. She was confused because the huge brass plaque with the Field’s name is EMBEDDED into the wall. They would have to chisel it out the stone to change it.

    And, that, my friends, the a metaphor for how Chicago feels about Marshall Field’s. You will have to chisel the name out of our hearts.

  68. Piquant1 says:

    What is wrong with Macy’s is the fact that they advertise an item and fail to have it in the store. The stores clerk did a search and none of the nearby other three stores had the item either. If the stores do not have the merchandise, the item should not put it in the sale flyer. This has happened on two separate occasions with different items. Filene’s used to have the merchandise that was advertised.
    I just love to make wasteful trips to Macy’s with the gas prices being the way they are.

  69. kc2gvx says:

    I still hate Federated (Macy’s) for swallowing up Stern’s back in 2001. People in the NJ/NY area loved Stern’s, and in 2001 they decided to turn them into Macy’s or Bloomingdales. When they replaced my Stern’s credit card with a Macy’s, I called to cancel and explained my reason was how I will never shop in Macy’s again since they took Stern’s away. Not like I will put them under, but glad to see the rest of the country is revolting against their forced re-naming of local stores.

  70. azntg says:

    I’m a lifelong New Yorker and I don’t like Macy’s too much either. I’m not much of an impulse shopper, but among the few times I do go to shop, the selections are blah, had my share of running into unhelpful if not outright rude sales associates and in recent memory, I’ve had a problem about trying to purchase an item at sale price.

    The only good thing they still having going for them is probably the Thanksgiving parade, in my opinion.

    Take heart Chicagoans, even if Macy’s kept the Marshall Field’s name (and other regional brands), I wouldn’t be too surprised if they’d run those names to the ground.

  71. Antrack says:

    Also re: the State Street Chicago Macy’s – it used to be a beautiful high-end store when it was Marshall Fields. Now there are so many racks full of crap one on top of the other, it honestly looks like a Kohl’s.

    I hope Macy’s sells at least that store to someone else and they restore Field’s to its glory.

  72. factotum says:

    How about the amount of money they spend on advertising? I worked for a national full-service commercial printer and in every market there was a Macy’s they had a full-color stapled ad every, single week. Plus, they advertise constantly on TV. And it’s always a special week: “White Week”, “Fragrance Week”, “Clearance Week”. If they just lowered their prices, they wouldn’t have to advertise sales all the time.

  73. LibidinousSlut says:

    I’m not a fan of department stores. Period. The big Macy’s (34th street in Manhattan) is too big, too crowded, and too filled with tourists. I only go when I have a gift card. Their regular stores, are still too big and don’t have anything distinctive. I only go there (i.e. in the outer boroughs) for bras (I’m big busted, but not a big gal, and Victoria’s Secret doesn’t carry my not so usual size) and only when I can’t find them better priced at Daffy’s.

  74. DjDynasty says:

    @Melov: No, The May Companies former stores were rated all of them in the top 10, Marshall Field’s had the #1 spot. The law of averages allowed them to put macy’s in the top 10 because of the take over. http://www.fieldsfanschicago.org to see all the comments. Everyone hates Macy’s, Some just have been more vocal about it.

  75. DjDynasty says:

    The reason why the clothes at Macy’s are considered expensive, even if they are “Lower market” from Marshall Field’s Quality in terms of price. Would you pay $20 for a bath towel that will dye your skin blue? or $25 for a pair of “American Rag” (Macy’s Private label, used to be exclusive to Bloomingdales, but Marshall Field’s customers wanted “umarket things”) that will fall apart after a few washings? At what cost do Macy’s disposable clothes finally seem “cheap”? If you’re going to waste your money on stuff that doesn’t have quality, most of it made in china, why not waste it on lotto tickets, at least that goes to schools & roads!

  76. Melov says:

    @awelfle: Macy’s never bought federated….Federated bought Macy’s and converted all their original store into one name, Macy’s.

  77. Melov says:

    @Wormfather: That’s been rumored for the last 3 months, but nothing has happened. Thats what happens when people listen to the main stream media too much. Last time we did that on a larger scale we ended up with president bush.

  78. Melov says:

    @krylonultraflat: Hi, do research before you talk.

  79. Melov says:
  80. Melov says:

    @DjDynasty: wrong again, please refer to the link above.

    as for ff.org, i’ve never seen so many cry babies in one place, or people who type in capital letters all the time. People should get lives

  81. Melov says:

    @scoobydoo: Don’t know about you, but Chase has never been down for me in the 3 years of online banking I’ve done with them. I check my account daily.

  82. Keter says:

    Unlike some other commenters, I’ve had pretty good experiences at Macy’s after they took over Foley’s, and I’ve gotten some really good deals there. However, I am a rock-bottom discount shopper, so I couldn’t help noticing that they have a tendency to carry many of the same items I also see at Ross discount stores…for exactly the same prices. They’re hurting for sure, and it’s going to take them some time to find their footing again. Last time I shopped, it looked like they were starting to regroup, but they desperately need a clear brand-identity that is visibly different from other department stores (like Dillards).

  83. mrwok says:

    I buy shirt, no fit. Then I rub feces on store.

  84. dazette says:

    In Chicago we tried to alert Macy’s that they were making a huge mistake messing with Marshall Field’s. 60,000 Field’s loyalists signed an anti-Macy’s petition in just two days. Roger Ebert wrote a column and told Macy’s they would tank here. We explained to Macy’s why there would be a backlash against their arrogance. We promised them there would be a boycott. We cut up credit cards and picketed outside the State Street Store. Macy’s chuckled and laughed and pooh-poohed, and bragged about what a marketing genius their chairman, Terry Lundgren is. Who’s laughing now, Macy’s?

  85. Bunnymuffin says:

    When Macys took over the Bon one of the first things they did was hide the plus size clothing back in a corner by gift wrap on the other side of the store from all the other women’s clothing. I assumed from that move they didn’t want fat money so I haven’t been back since even though I’ve lost more than enough weight to shop in the “acceptable sizes” section.

  86. acambras says:

    When you say “the Bon,” do you mean the Bon Ton?

  87. thepassenger says:


    Just so you know, all black is now the required dress code for Macy’s employees. They are allowed to do things like wear colored blouses or shirts with a black suit, but black is still the starting point.

  88. @scoobydoo: “My bank (Chase) claims it won an award for its online banking, yet its website is still down more than Paris Hiltons underwear.”

    My college had professors choose the winner of the undergraduate teaching award. Which is why it never, ever went to a professor who could actually teach. Sounds like the same thing!

  89. LivingNCalifornia says:

    It’s a shame what Macy’s has sunk to because it was the department store to shop at in the 70’s through the mid 90’s. What Bloomingdales is now Macy’s was back then. The stores where elegant, sharp and sophisticated. Even the local branch by my parent’s house in the burbs was the nicest store in the area.
    The store carried all the latest designers and brands of the time. Now the same store is dark, dirty, clothes strewn all over the floor, dirty carpets with holes and electrical tape patches. The front of the store has litter everywhere. Pure ghetto. The vast majority of the clothes now are overpriced private label junk. Who pays $400.00 for a “Material London” cotton blazer?. I blame Lundgren he ran a great store into the ground. Change will only come when Macy’s hits rock bottom which seems not to far off.

  90. Vienna says:

    I went to Macy’s more when it was more like a specialty store at the Mall of America. The sale’s don’t seem as good as they used to be. I don’t like how they’ve now made it to look more like Marshall Fields. They should have left the Marshall Fields Name on all the Store’s even though Macy’s now owns them. And I don’t like how they got rid of a lot the the “Market Place” Products like the toasted sesame dressing. And I think a lot of local vendors got tossed out of Marshall Fields which made a lot of people unhappy.

  91. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @Sir Winston Thriller:
    Actually, Frango’s were created in Chicago by Knectel Labs for Frederick & Nelson. Then Field’s bought F&N but changed the name Franco Mints, an acronym for F&N to Frango, because they didn’t want the association with Generalissimo Franco & the Spanish Civil War.
    But Field’s was way smarter than Lundgren & left the F&N name alone.
    Knectel is a company that creates candies for candy manufacturers & has been in the Chicago area for decades.
    I go past it occasionally, but it’s a very secretive operation.
    There have been a few newspaper articles about it in the past, but I haven’t seen one lately.

  92. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I believe it means the Bon Marche stores.

  93. coffcoffcoff says:

    While it is so sad what macy’s has done to destroy local department store names and customer service, it is gratifying to read so many, many comments from people who feel the same way.

    The website http://www.fieldsfanschicago.org is still going stronger and stronger with comments and ongoing boycott and protest plans. Although Marshall Field’s name and superior merchandise selection at all price points with the exemplary customer service is the primary focus, we invite remarks from anyone whose regional department store has suffered under the downgrading macy-ification of America.

    Also, please join us, if you are able, at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 9 in front of the famous Marshall Field & Company Building at 111 North State Street in Chicago to protest the drastic changes from what Marshall Field’s symbolized to Chicagoans and world-wide visitors alike.

    Do what you can to force macy’s to give-up, sell-out and bring back the department store names and service which we have come to respect and want!

    Remember: http://www.fieldsfanschicago.org AND 9/9/07 at 1:00 at 111 North State Street. Thank You!

  94. TSS says:

    @PDQ2: I’ve sort of given up on department stores. I’m from Southern Cal and remember Buffum’s (gone), Broadway (gone), Bullocks (gone), Bullock’s Wilshire (gone), Robinsons (gone)…

    Don’t forget May Company and I.Magnin, too. Macy’s has driven everyone else out of business in SoCal, and I don’t understand it. I go in there and every section looks like the Junior’s Dept. I’m 30. I don’t want to dress like I’m 17 anymore. And that, to me, is Macy’s problem in a nutshell

  95. Chicago7 says:

    Marshall Fields’ State Street store sucked for many years before Macy’s took over. Macy’s didn’t move Frango Mint production to Pennsylvania, Marshall Field’s did (officially, May Stores did, I suppose).

    I’m pretty sure Frango Mints were made on the 8th or 9th floor of the State Street store for many years. I remember seeing chocolates made there in the early 80s, anyway.

  96. SisterHavana says:

    @INTPLibrarian: I used to love going to the Oakbrook Marshall Fields. They always had an excellent selection and it was well-kept. These days I’ve only been going there to go to the Lush store that’s inside it (I am a Lush addict!) but one day I got there way early for a Lush party so I decided to go upstairs and see if there was anything interesting. BIG MISTAKE. I was shocked at how schlocky a lot of the merchandise was and how the departments were pretty trashed. I almost cried.

    The State Street store is one of the few places anywhere that carries bras in my size so I have shopped there a couple times. While it’s not as horrific there as the Oak Brook store, it’s definitely not the same at all. Every time I go in there it strikes me how dead it is. There are maybe a quarter of the amount of people that used to be in that store when it was Marshall Fields, and I am being generous.

  97. hyperlexis says:

    Melov still loves repeating that word crybabies. Maybe someone should go to his favorite local Macy’s and buy him a thesaurus for his 12th birthday. Oh wait, Macy’s eliminated the books department and outsourced it. Yeah 77% profits off. Big surprise. Only 23% to go! They’ll hit it by year’s end.

  98. DjDynasty says:

    I’ve heard Macy’s employee’s say that if they didn’t change the name to Macy’s, Macy’s was going to close them down. In some instances, Macy’s is closing them down, like the Lake Forest, IL store. The oldest Field’s location outside of Chicago. They closed tons of locations where the only stores at the mall are now a Macy’s, another Macy’s and a Bloomingdales. Those malls are choking now. Landlord’s of Malls don’t want Macy’s in, the other merchants are affected by the lack of trffic. Major cities are losing on tourist taxes, and tourists in general. I’m not going to NYC this year, because I have a Macy’s in Chicago. I live in the suburbs, I’m not going to drive to state street to have bigger selection, because I’ve boycotted Macy’s. I’m not going to go to Miami and shop at burdines, because it’s a Macy’s also. Foley’s in Denver lost my business. Actually a lot of my business trips were planned so I could shop at out of state stores. now with those stores all becomming Macy’s, I’ve quit traveling for business, and relied on teleconferences, and conference calls. That means Airlines are losing profits, the hotel industry, rentall car industry, my credit card companies aren’t generating as much in fee’s they charge to merchants because I’m not traveling, because of Macy’s, which will hurt their bottom line.

    It’s one giant circle, and the only way to make everything economically better, is to get rid of Macy’s! They are responsible for the mortgage meltdown in the US! http://www.godhatesmacys.com

  99. TheAntiEstablishment says:

    Macy’s service is horrible because the sales staffs’ reviews are based upon their ability to open credit cards. 100% of their review this next year will be on “opening credit”. This is how they stay afloat. The company lives off the interest of the charge cards.

    Macy’s demoralizes staff. They try to get rid of loyal staff who have been in the company for years by offering them 2 weeks pay to leave. This helps them cut down on their labor cost.

  100. Ms.Stiles says:

    What’s Wrong with Macy’s?? Well I can only speak for the NYC store but it is EXHAUSTING to shop there and a nightmare. The floors are too crammed with merchandise, its like a maze to find an escalator (don’t even THINK ABOUT AN ELEVATOR). The dressing rooms are FILTHY – I don’t know how often those mirrors are cleaned but it must be pretty rare. If you do have merchandise you want to try on there is only one dressing room open per floor (and usually a LINE) then you can never find an open register! Everything about the place is depressing – even the thin, cheap shopping bags they give you. Sales help? Non-existent. One of the last times I was in the store I was on the escalator going from the main floor up and saw 3 young-ish kids/adults grab a handful of Ralph Lauren purses and dash out the door. NICE and CLASSY!

  101. FreedomOfSpeech says:

    I worked for Macy’s up until a few months ago and I too miss the May company. They treated their employees so much better. Macy’s likes working on skeleton crews and thinks it’s ok to have one person working the juniors and kids departments. They also think it’s ok to work everyone eight days straight with just one day off in between. That one day off is cherished but not nearly enough to recuperate from trying to clean the dressing rooms and the department all by yourself, getting chewed out by customers constantly because you are the only employee on the floor and they had to wait inline ten minutes for you to ring them up, and being scolded by managers because you didn’t get three people to open a Macy’s account that week. I always felt bad asking someone to open an account because the credit card services are horrible and the interest rate is absurd. Plus, who isn’t in debt already?

    I agree with PHRYGIAN about the choice of clothing. Even the enticement of my employee discount could not make up for their hideous choice of clothes. It wasn’t much of a discount anyway after the 21%+ interest kicked in since we had to purchase with our Macy’s card to get the “discount”.

    THEANTIESTABLISHMENT is right about Macy’s demoralizing is employees. The older members of the staff at my store were written up for the most idiotic things so that they would have enough write-ups to fire them if they so wished, since their measly $11 wages are the cause of all their money problems. No, I think it’s CEO’s total compensation of $15,647,117. And that was just for 2006. Some of the commissioned employees also noticed that the percentage they got for certain sales was reduced without being notified of it. I guess the company thought they were stupid and they would not notice. It’s just a little obvious when your paycheck declines dramatically. I was also threatened at least once a week that I would get a poor review because I rarely opened Macy’s accounts. I didn’t care because that meant I would miss out on an entire 5 cent raise. Big whoop!

    Well, I finally got out of that hell hole and got a job that doesn’t give me the urge chase a bottle of Xanax down with a bottle of Vodka. All I can say is that I sympathize with the victims of Macy’s. I feel your pain.