Macy's Loses $59 Million In 3 Months, Angry Marshall Field's Customers Get The Blame

Macy’s has managed to lose $59 million in the first quarter. CEO Terry J. Lundgren says that considering the crappy economy, losing $59 mil isn’t all that bad:

“Given the very difficult economic environment, our company performed relatively well compared to the competition in the first quarter,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive.

The AP, however, couldn’t resist hinting that pissed off former Marshall Field’s customers were at least partly to blame for Macy’s unpopularity:

Macy’s has struggled with disappointing sales and resistance from shoppers in some markets where the Macy’s name replaced local favorites after its 2005 buyout of May Co.

While Marshall Field’s customers are certainly the most vocal (Chicagoans are pathologically resistant to change. See: “Wrigley Field”), Macy’s has a nasty reputation for displacing other local favorites as well.

Macy’s reports loss on weak sales, beats estimates [AP]
(Photo: Mr.Oliver )


Edit Your Comment

  1. Shaftoe says:

    Hear hear.
    They replaced the local emergancy backup Dept store since Frederick Nelson closed, Bon Marche.

  2. Murph1908 says:

    Low blow with the Wrigley Field comment.

    There’d be a similar outcry if they tried to change the name of Fenway. The charm of these old, historic parks are intertwined with their name.

    Hell, they’re tearing down the stadium in the Bronx, and the new one is STILL called Yankee Stadium.

    And yes, the 1908 in my name is relevant.

  3. carso says:

    It’s called business. Mergers and acquisitions happen, and the end result is higher returns for our shareholders. If you feel like you were somehow “cheated out” of Marshall Fields’ (or any other chain we’ve absorbed/converted) you are free to do your shopping elsewhere.

    Believe it or not, the primary responsibility of every corporation is to its shareholders, not its customers. Protest away.

  4. ninabi says:

    My mother was on the phone yesterday carping to me that she missed having Famous-Barr in St. Louis. Macy’s had a “dumpy” line of women’s clothing, she thought.

    Local identity, local buyers- take that away and yes, people get pissed. Especially when you offer older women dorky coral pantsuits with appliques.

  5. CityGuy says:

    Chicago consumers are pissed becauses Macy’s cutomer service “sucks ass”. Where as Field’s use to treat their customers great.

  6. Meg Marco says:

    @Murph1908: It’s not a low blow, it’s self-congratulation. I’m from Chicago and am wearing a Cubs hat right now.

  7. Dakine says:


    Yes, that’s true. But there’s “smart” business” and “stupid business decisions” in the course of doing business.

    Alienating your customers en masse would fall under the “stupid business decisions” category.

    No customers = no business = soon-to-be-no-mo-shareholders.

  8. Rando says:

    Chicago = Q_Q

    Macy’s = pewpew

  9. beavis88 says:

    @Murph1908: I thought the charm of Fenway was the weeks of back and leg pain you suffer from cramming yourself into those tiny seats.

  10. windycitygirl68 says:

    As both a Macy’s employee spouse and a Chicago resident, it takes everything I have to not slap a “Forever Marshall Field’s” bumper sticker on the back of my car. But, alas, I dare not bite the hand that feeds us and hands out an occasional bonus check. Others have said it before me, but one can only imagine the outcry if the tables had been turned and we renamed everything on the east coast Marshall Field’s. Field’s was declining, but not dead. Last week I went to my local Macy’s and found that some of the signage on the clearance rack had been printed from Word on someone’s laptop – and they did not even bother to center the damned words! Mr. Field would not approve. Apparently R.H. Macy wouldn’t have minded. Mr. Lundgen’s sunshine days are over and we need someone new at the helm.

  11. naosuke says:

    @carso: That is exactly what the article is claiming. That because Macy’s had pissed off their customers the customers went to other stores leading to a decline in sales. I know that I have only been in a macy’s a hand full of times since the name change, because I liked Field’s and Dayton’s better.

  12. ptkdude says:

    @carso: Actually, their responsibility is to their STAKEholders, which does include their customers as well as their shareholders.

  13. smallestmills says:

    What about Hudson’s? Will no one think of Hudson’s and their Maurice Salad!!!

  14. Shaftoe says:

    Yeah and does Macy have a really cool natural history museum with dinosaurs and stuff named after him?


  15. lightaugust says:

    @carso: You know, I know that ‘Shareholders first’ mentality is technically correct, but that is, in my mind, at the root of every damn thing that’s gone wrong with this system. It has led to the decline of capitalism in it’s best sense, led to crappier service, crappier products, less competition, higher prices, and bad Cable Television service, dammit. In my imaginary economic world, it’s a change in mentality that is still masquerading as democratic capitalism and is nothing of the sort. Plus, and this is my final point on this. The quality of Frango chocolates has declined precipitously sense the merger, and that is one damn step too far.

  16. carso says:


    The “Macy’s” brand is the most-recognized retailer in America; the brand power behind our name is incalculable. People on the east coast have never heard of Marshall Fields’, nor are they familiar with Famous-Barr. With the goal of solidifying our brand strength nationally (and soon internationally) it’s worth “alienating” some of our customers if the payoff is cohesiveness and reduced overhead costs – both of which have been achieved.

    The problem here is that the people against the name change are so much more vocal than the people who appreciate having a Macy’s in their backyard. In truth, we’ve gained a lot more customers than we’ve lost in the areas where nameplate changes are occurring.

    It’s not a clean process, nor a pleasant one – but it is profitable, and therefore necessary.

  17. carso says:


    I sincerely agree with you on the topic of the quality of Frango chocolates.

  18. Buran says:

    @carso: You don’t maximize shareholder value by angering customers who then shop at the competition, thus depriving you of money. This happened because Macy’s angered customers and showed that it didn’t care what they wanted.

    Yes, the responsibility is legally to the shareholders — but those shareholders are served best by maximizing sales/profit/potential profit/customer numbers!

    You just pointed out why Macy’s erred by not listening to these people.

  19. enm4r says:

    Isn’t this the point of free(ish) market? Piss of the customer base, for whatever reason, and they can and will choose to shop elsewhere. Good to see we still have a semifunctional free(ish) market.

    And as a “non-Chicagoan” living in Chicago, I don’t shop at Macy’s because they don’t cater to what I want. I’ve been in there a few times for specific things, and never once made a purchase. More often than not I walk around thinking “people buy this stuff?”

  20. Buran says:

    @Murph1908: And our new stadium here in St. Louis is also called Busch Stadium. Even though I am not a die-hard baseball fan, I have local pride in making sure that name stays around and if it had been any other business who got the naming rights, I and many other people would have been very upset.

  21. lightaugust says:

    @carso: So, you work for them and just told a whole boatload of folks to basically love Macy’s or find a new place to shop? Then claimed it was profitable under a banner that reads you just lost $59 million dollars.

    Wow. I shop at Macy’s A LOT, actually, and you’ve got me rethinking this.

  22. Illusio26 says:

    I remember when macys bought fields and people around here in chicago were pissed at the name change. I was in a store and I overheard two old ladys talk about how they were going to go protest the name change.

    I did all I could to not bust out laughing at them. I wanted to tell them to find a real cause to protest. When were at home bored, my wife and I still make jokes about going to Macy’s to protest…

  23. CityGuy says:


    It may be the case that “The “Macy’s” brand is the most-recognized retailer in America”, however the truth is, they have appalling customer service.

    Field’s customer care was great, Macy’s on the other hand took everything that made Field’s a great place to shop and threw it in the Trash.

  24. @carso: Grocery stores do fine by keeping local names (e.g. Kroger, Supervalu). Why does Macy’s think nobody cares that they’ve been a loyal Dayton’s/Hudson’s/Marshall Field’s customer for most of their life?

    I feel like my “local” department store had a major identity crisis: first it was a Dayton’s, then a Marshall Field’s, and now it’s a Macy’s. I had loyalty to Dayton’s, but you’re dead to me now.

    Today I shop at Target, because that’s the closest blood relative to Dayton’s left.

  25. ClevelandCub says:

    Without the customers the shareholders don’t have squat. Why was it so important to rebrand all of the May Co stores “Macy’s”? They did it here in Cleveland too, most of the time it’s the least populated store in the mall.

  26. styrofoam says:

    I hate that Minnesotans are so willing to cave on this stuff.
    Daytons buys Marshall Fields, becomes Marshall Fields to not offend Chicago. I still miss Daytons.

    Norwest buys Wells Fargo, becomes Wells Fargo.

    Minneapolis gives up arguably the best basketball team in the nation, and suddenly LA is famous for its inland water density? (ok, this is an example of a giveaway rather than a takeover, but it still applies, based on some tenuous strand of incoherent logic I’m able to fabricate.)

    There’s more examples of it, but Minnesotans are entirely too willing to say, “We bought you, suck it up and bow down to your new corporate overlords.”

  27. noi56u says:

    If YOU owned Macy’s and bought out a competitor’s store (Fields), would you really want to leave the name the same (and damaging your brand) just to appease some crazies who stand on the corner of State and Washington with their moronic signs?

    Agreed, Meg, that Chicagoans are incredibly resistant to change. The Wrigley thing really blows my mind – the field is already named after a company to begin with! Can’t wait for “Mark Cuban Field”…

  28. humphrmi says:

    @carso: Customers pay the shareholders. Ignore at your peril.

  29. hilighter says:

    @carso: Evidently it is neither appreciated or profitable. As a Chicagoan, I was sad to see the Field’s name disappear, but it’s certainly not the reason I don’t shop at Macy’s…it’s because your stuff is crap and your service is worse.

    I’m now a loyal Nordstrom’s girl.

  30. carso says:


    The AP quote above implies a great deal but one notes that it is careful not to make a direct connection between upset Marshall Fields customers and lost profits. I am not aware of any official Macy’s statement (by Lundgren or otherwise) that directly makes this link, either.

    Our research shows that former Marshall Fields customers are still patronizing our locations – in addition, we have gained additional customer base. We’re not making money right now because the economy is not favorable for our niche, and we’ve been making (remarkably) poor merchandising decisions. Period. We hope to see that change in the near future as we decentralize our marketing operations to focus more precisely on regional tastes, styles, and demand.

    The unfortunate fact is that people will always find something to complain about. Trust me when I say that we didn’t just disregard customer opinion when converting these stores. We compared the benefits with the costs, and found nameplate conversion to our advantage.

  31. SkokieGuy says:

    @humphrmi: Bravo for the most cogent comment here.

  32. SkokieGuy says:

    .@carso: We’re not making money right now because the economy is not favorable for our niche, and we’ve been making (remarkably) poor merchandising decisions. [so the economies of centralized purchasing & marketing are biting you in the ass, huh?]

    we decentralize our marketing operations to focus more precisely on regional tastes, styles, and demand [Oh, sort of like becoming Marshall Fields again instead of forcing a national decision on what and how to sell in the midwwest? So your new decentralized strategy is for Macy’s to become Marshall Fields again, right?]

  33. Geekybiker says:

    When macy’s took over the Mashall Field’s stores it was more than a name change. Product lineup has changed and lot of the selection and service has gone straight to hell. MF used to be my first stop when I needed clothing. Now that its Macy’s I really debate if it’s worth going in. I’m not even a long time Chicago resident who’s emotionally attached to the name. I’m a west coast transport.

  34. Dakine says:


    “the brand power behind our name is incalculable.”

    While this may be true, nothing is invincible. I live on an island in the most remote island chain on Earth. There is a Macy’s here. Choices are very limited here for shopping. This isn’t a major city so it’s not like there’s another store on the next block to switch to in most cases. There used to be a JCPenneys here too, and now they are gone. I can honestly say I haven’t been inside the Macy’s here in over 2 years. Even with the limited choices I have here.

    So, sure…. the Macy’s brand may be all that to YOU.

    To me it’s just another corporation with their collective head up their ass. If you can’t recognize (and exploit for profit of course) the loyalty to these other brands, what makes you think they’d be loyal to the Macy’s brand after swallowing them up?

    Behavior like this is also been documented in crack heads.

  35. carso says:


    Not, not right. We were right to nameplate the stores as Macy’s. We were wrong to centralize our purchasing and marketing. Business is unfortunately not an exact science, and we made an error there – which, incidentally, we’re in the process of correcting.

  36. carso says:


    The regional loyalty to brands such as Marshall Fields and Famous-Barr that we lost by converting them to Macy’s is far outweighed by the national-level loyalty we gained.

  37. SkokieGuy says:

    @carso: If you’re going to make merchandising, purchasing and marketing decisions at the local level, you’re basically saying we’re a national chain, but we’re gonna run our stores like semi-independent retail merchants (which they used to be). So what is the benefit of the name change?

    Reading between the lines, the new plan seems to acknowledge that what Macy’s did (name change, centralized operations) failed and all the critics were in fact right. You’re returning to the regional merchants status of Fields in most ways, but name only.

  38. @Buran: Cool – I was hoping that it remained Busch Stadium after it was re-built.

    @ninabi: If she’s talking about Alfani or Style & Co., she’s right. And I kind of miss Famous-Barr, too. Macy’s is not the same as Famous, dammit! (And I’ll try to not get started on Lord & Taylor … heh)

  39. ARP says:

    @carso: As a Chicagoan, I think that the nameplate change was forgivable, but the problem is that you downgraded Fields in terms of brands, quality, service, etc. and kept prices just as high. I don’t think peole are willing to pay the same premium for your private label brands compared to brands/selection you used to carry. In my view, you’re stuck in the same spot as the Gap- you have an inflated notion of your brand cache and have prices to match. Unfortunately, consumers are not following. I honestly don’t think this is an economic conditions issue, but the fundamentals of your business. My guess is that when we come out of this slump, your numbers will still be lower than most. It’s time to actually do a little introspection rather than constantly blaming outside conditions.

  40. Dakine says:


    Well, in the end it’s all about the bottom line. The reason this conversation interested me is because I am a, shall we say “Brand Enhancement Specialist”. And the clients I have worked for have been successfully sold / merged within no more than one year after hiring me. (the goal, by the way). All of these bought companies have retained their new brands to this day. Why? Because the customers were die-hard loyalists and would have jumped ship had they tried to roll them into the faceless mass.

    In the case of macy’s, I’m not so sure it didn’t have something to do with making a statement about crushing competition as well as bottom line.

    Especially when a “rep” gets involved in a chatboard and starts cutting lost customers like bad merchandise instead of doing a full blown PR spin.

  41. AimeeGee says:

    My sister is a manager at Nordstrom in Chicago, she said sales have steadily increased since MF turned into Macy’s. I wonder why the “difficult economic environment” doesn’t seem to affect Nordstrom’s sales. Hm.

    While the whole “burning your Macy’s card in protest” is silly, we all agree… it wasn’t just the name change that turned people away. Ex-customers will say, “They have shopping carts!” in abject horror. Do you see what the problem is? It’s not the name, it’s the “downgrade” in service. Longtime Marshall Fields customers expect a certain level of service and product quality that Macy’s took away, and basically turned their Marshall Fields into a store one step above a Target.

    Oh, but if it keeps your shareholders happy… (Ugh.)

  42. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    That’s what you get for selling crappy clothes. There hasn’t been a good Polo for men collection in five years.

  43. SkokieGuy says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: Shouldn’t you be angry at Ralph Lauren? I was not aware that Macy’s designed clothing for Polo. I thought they simply sold them.

  44. MrJames says:

    @dinger_82: If that was the case, then both Macy’s and Bloomingdales should be called Federated Inc. Stores.

    And as for you Carso…Where do you get off saying that east coast shoppers never heard of Marshall Fuckin’ Fields? The place was an institution and one of the first places I went to the first time I visited Chicago. I have to say that I was really impressed. I was even moved to open an account and purchase somerhing. I can’t say the same about any of the experiences I’ve at at Macy’s in the past…forever. It’s so bland! And look at Bloomingdales! They’re still able to retain a brand identity! So screw you!

  45. Bourque77 says:

    Same here I have hear of marshall fields and i live in north carolina. I have went into the macy’s here maybe two or three times in my life. I end up walking around thinking “man people buy this overpriced crap?”

  46. Pluckyduk8 says:

    I’m in the Chicago area…had one of my wedding registries at Macy’s. There was such a huge difference between the Macy’s in Skokie/Old Orchard (which was a mess, impossible to find anything, and a lesser selection) and Oakbrook (clean, much more of a pleasure to shop in). The customer service was much better in Oakbrook too. Kind of sad when there is such differences between stores. Had one incident when we had to exchange china plates that were sent in the mail to us and were ringed with a gold color instead of silver. They were bought on sale and when we exchanged them they were full price – they wanted to charge us the difference. Luckily with a little haggling I got them for the sale price.

  47. iliketurtles1234 says:

    @ninabi: um, your st louis market did have local buyers as macys. at least until 5/2 of this year.

  48. iliketurtles1234 says:

    @MrJames: There is no federated stores. They changed the corporation name from federated to macys last year.

  49. nightsweat says:

    @carso – “the brand power behind our name is incalculable”

    You know, brands aren’t always a good thing. Chrysler is a big brand, but it’s poison to most buyers.

    Macy’s continues to make stupid decision after stupid decision. The Macy’s brand isn’t as bright and shiny as you think it is.

  50. MrJames says:

    Full disclosure: I come from a long line of retail employees. Macy’s fed me, paid the bills, and put clothes of my back for most of my childhood. I have MANY reasons to despise Federated but renaming Marshall Fields was by far the DUMBEST, most idiotic decision I’ve seen them make. No one was really going to miss Bamberger’s or Filene’s. In those instances, Macy’s was a vast improvement.

  51. MrJames says:

    @iliketurtles1234: My mistake. Even so, they should have done that when they acquired the Macy’s brand back then if was “so powerful!”

  52. Kajj says:

    @carso: You’re not making money right now because you employ rude people to sell polyester sweatshop clothing that’s five years out of date, shove credit cards down people’s throats, and maintain the State Street store in such appalling condition that I had to dry-clean my coat after momentarially brushing up against a wall the one time I ventured in there after the buyout. A friend of mine went there looking for a Mother’s Day gift last week and told me that the bathroom was so dirty she gagged from the smell.

    You can fluff your stockholders all you like, but if even one of them visited that location they’d run you out on a rail. You and everyone at Macy’s should be ashamed of yourselves.

  53. MadameX says:

    I’ve tried to love Macy’s ever since they replaced Robinsons-May here in Arizona, but I just can’t. As time goes on, they carry less and less of the brands I loved, and the fabulous sales that Robinsons used to have just aren’t there anymore.

    I’m really stuck here because I think Dillards and Nordstroms are a little pricey. Robinsons seemed to fit nicely in between the high-end department stores and the discount stores.

  54. Geekybiker says:

    These days I feel like I’m stepping into a JcPenny’s or Sears when I go into a Macy’s. A feeling I never had with Field’s.

  55. stevekw says:

    I have watched as Macy’s has slowly slipped closer to the Sears of the world. When I see a “upscale” store start to carry Martha Stewart brand items I feel the end is drawing closer. The Mens department in Macy’s doesn’t come close to Bloomingdales nor Nordstroms for the type of product nor customer service. It is sad to see a end to what was a wonderful store.

  56. SuffolkHouse says:

    You know, I never cared that Macy’s took over Marshall Field, but members of my family did. To this day, they won’t eat a Frango mint. However, after your “keepin’ it real” bullshi&t response, I think I’m going to take my shopping elsewhere. Good thing, too, since I recently moved to Long Island.

    F Macy’s! Share that with your stockholders, moron!

  57. SuffolkHouse says:

    @stevekw: I agree. Marshall Field WAS a wonderful store, with good service, clean stores and upscale selection. Macy’s is not that. The Macy’s near me in Commack, NY is a dump in a glorified stripmall. I do most of my shopping at a rather large Sears in the same town (I think it is in the same town).

  58. EasttoMidwest says:

    Let me tell you something about Macy’s “brand.” I’m from NY, and Macy’s a low and painful experience – it carries NO CACHET in NYC. Only tourists and teenagers shop at Herald Square. It took over A&S, and then it became A&S (not so terrific).

    I live in Chicago. Believe me, Fields has way more cachet and a far better reputation than Macy’s. And the current incarnation of that store will only further pull down Macy’s reputation. After all, maybe a Chicagoan would have shopped at Herald Square while on vacation… not any more. Even the make up counters can’t keep their standard inventories together. I have to replace cosmetics about once a month, and I will make a special trip to Nordstrom or Sephora rather than WALK to Macy’s during my lunch break because they’re always out of something basic. And the message here has ABSOLUTELY been one of disdain toward Field’s shoppers (we do read the local papers and watch the local news, and man, Macy’s has a bad PR machine).

    This contempt for the customer… it really is like those Dish Network commercials with Ed Bagely Jr. Carso sure falls into that category. (And guess what Carso? I spend A LOT of money of clothes, shoes and cosmetics.)

  59. @carso:

    Stock Holders Rule.

    But I still dislike Macy’s.

  60. nsv says:

    @lightaugust: The quality of Frango chocolates has declined precipitously sense the merger, and that is one damn step too far.

    What? Noooooo! (They’re hard to come by in Florida, which is why I wasn’t aware of this.)

    I used to shop at Burdines for funky Florida-themed stuff, perfect for gifts. When it became Burdines-Macy’s (or Macy’s-Burdines, can’t remember, don’t care,) all the cool stuff was replaced with nighties my grandmother would wear. Haven’t been back since.

    Yippee for the shareholders. They lost a lot of local customers, and the tourists have no reason to go to Macy’s here since there’s one at home. Smart move.

  61. hellinmyeyes says:

    I’m not surprised. Our Macy’s is practically a FUBU factory outlet, and I never find anything decent to buy there. I’d love to say “good riddance”, but that honestly would leave a bit of a vacuum in my mall.

  62. Buran says:

    @carso: I think that’s the wordiest way anyone has ever told me to fuck off.

    Don’t worry. I and my family told YOU to fuck off a long time ago and we don’t shop at your store, nor does anyone we know.

    THAT’S how good your service is, and you can shove your “nameplate conversion”.

  63. Landru says:

    @carso: = shill

  64. aujahlisa says:

    As a long time Chicagoan, I think that most of the “transition” problems from MF to Macy’s are due to shattered expectations. MF was for years a high-end, posh department store. Macy’s isn’t – and won’t ever be. Federated (the parent co.) already has Bloomingdales as their high-end offering.

    And, yes, I hate Macy’s and will NEVER again shop there willingly. The merchandise manager at the Joliet store was an utter ass to me two days in a row before Christmas. I wasn’t being a glutton for punishment. The return trip was to take names and titles for my call to Executive Customer Service. They were all apologies, but I had already finished my shopping elsewhere, so there was nothing for them to offer to me.

  65. morydd says:

    The other thing that’s clearly been missed (as evidenced by the Wrigley Field comment) is that Chicagoans, by and large, have at least a passing grasp of the history of their city, and know that Field and Wrigley weren’t just company names when they were applied to those places. They were the names of the men who owned and ran them. And it’s not a matter of “I’ve shopped there my whole life.” It’s a matter of “My grandmother tells me stories about what a thrill it was the first time she went there to see the Christmas Tree.” There were reasons to go to that store beyond simply shopping. By taking that away and making it just another store exactly like 10000 others, you send the people who remember what the store was like to Nordstrom’s and the people who don’t to Amazon.

  66. Pithlit says:

    Macy’s is filled with overpriced crap. This season was the worst. I couldn’t believe the ugly, dumpy clothes this spring. I’d love to have the old Goldsmiths, and Parisian back. Macy’s needs to look in the mirror for the source of their troubles.

  67. Lambasted says:

    In DC, when Macy’s bought Hecht’s and they all became Macy’s, I don’t recall anyone batting an eye. Although I imagine that Hecht’s wasn’t as beloved as Marshall Fields was. I even remember Oprah talking about shopping at Marshall Fields. Macy’s should have let the flagship store on State Street keep the Marshall Fields name.

  68. Sarge1985 says:

    I went into the Macy’s at the Galleria in St. Louis and was disappointed that the Galleria would have allowed such a store to be an anchor. It was dirty and filled with junk that I could have found at K-Mart for half the price. And while Famous-Barr may have been a local retailer, they were an Icon in St. Louis for a very long time. I remember the windows downtown at Christmas and wish I could take my son to see them.

    And to the Macy’s shill, when you destroy a local landmark, you are insulting the very customer base you are counting on to make a profit. Famous-Barr was special. Macy’s not so much.

  69. Kajj says:

    Marshall Field was an old-school philanthropist who delighted in giving back to the city that made him rich. Macy’s is indifferent to Chicago, so Chicago is indifferent to it.

  70. betatron says:


    It’s called business. Mergers and acquisitions happen, and the end result is higher returns for our shareholders. If you feel like you were somehow “cheated out” of Marshall Fields’ (or any other chain we’ve absorbed/converted) you are free to do your shopping elsewhere.

    We are. That’s why Macy’s is tanking in Chicagoland.

    We. Don’t. Want. Macy’s.

    We. Want. Marshall Fields.

    That’s. Why. Macy’s. Is. Tanking. In. Chicago.

    Eventually, every single Macy’s that occupies what was once a Marshall Fields building will be a) sold off or b) vacant. Macy’s is going to die a long, slow inevitable death in the midwest. And yes, it is a conspiracy and i am a member.

    They will never prosper here.

  71. glorpy says:

    I’ve been astonished by the variety of experiences I’ve had in just one market – Rochester, NY. We have three Macy’s (ne Kaufmann’s) locations and each one is radically different in merchandise, cleanliness and service.

    Curiously, it’s the store in the lowest-end mall that has the best Men’s department.

    It seems that the centralized purchasing hasn’t been as centralized as was supposed.

  72. Buran says:

    @Sarge1985: Any idea what they are building that has half the place (from the Brentwood Blvd. side) torn up?

  73. mammalpants says:

    macys replaced hechts in a lot of places, but in north carolina, they literally just changed the signage and the bags! to me, this does not make it macys. it makes it the same old crappy hechts with macys signage, which makes it a watered-down macys. in my opinion, THIS is the root of the massive failure of macys. they lost their brand appeal in the mergers and acquisitions and the shareholders obviously do not understand the importance or care to maintain the integrity of a once-great brand.

    it used to have a glitzy and unique nyc appeal and now it’s just the same ol’ hechts i always hated, but with better looking shopping bags.

  74. Buran says:

    @scarletvirtue (ΣΣΣ): Oh, it was a huge relief to many, myself included. Yes, it’s a corporate name – BUT it’s a local company that has a very long history here and one that we’re happy to have here. It says a lot about the history of this place to have that name on our ballpark.

    Locals were also involved in some of the construction decisions, including the color of the seats (the vote was, unsurprisingly to me, overwhelmingly in favor of red. For those who don’t know why, our team is called the “Cardinals”.)

  75. GiltProto says:

    Ahhh, I remember the good old days when it was quite the event to have the Fields
    delivery truck show up at your house and deliver the goodies you bought right to your
    doorstep by a smartly dressed delivery person.
    S-T-A-T-U-S has become W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R.

  76. EarlNowak says:

    In the south, I grew up shopping at Foley’s. Great mensware
    department. Since they rebranded to Macy’s, I can’t find anything
    that looks good on me, and everything’s gone up in price, around 40%.
    So now I shop elsewhere. Thanks Macy’s!

  77. Paranoid2000 says:

    I have a suspicion that Ben & Meg will be getting an email very soon from a Macy’s executive or their PR/legal department demanding to know the IP address of Carso so they can track down who this (soon to be ex) employee is. I hope he/she has permission from management to be posting here as though he/she speaks for Macy’s.

    He/she does seem to be of the same quality as the in-store employees, so maybe management did send him/her over here to post. :)

    As for the stores, my Mom was a May Co. shopper all her life, and continued to shop at Robinson’s/May. When Macy’s took over the chain, she went a few more times then gave up. Location-wise, Macy’s was very convenient, but she spent the extra time to go to Nordstroms after that.

  78. GiltProto says:

    Macy’s still owns the Marshall Fields name, so when they sell some stores and the rights to the name we can always hope that a new Fields would once again be upscale with good service. But to be fair it’s hard to see good service anywhere these days so maybe the most you can expect in the future is a clothing or cell phone line bearing the Marshall Fields name.

  79. juiceboxonfire says:

    I’ve lived in Chicago for three years now and I still can’t believe that everyone here is blind enough to not know that Target (then Dayton/Hudson Corp) bought Marshall Field’s years ago. They kept the name, but Field’s hasn’t been it’s own store for years.

  80. rolla says:

    i love macys…they always have good sales on brand names.

  81. azgirl says:

    I buy more clothes at Walmart and Target since the Robinsons May/Macys merge at our mall.. it isnt that I liked Robinsons that much, but that the buyers are on so much crack. I can’t wear orange polyester trapeze shirts to work… it just won’t happen… how about some nice, normal, stylish clothes? Has anyone figured out it may be the clothes got so frakkn ugly, no one wanted them? Or how about some pants that cover my a** crack? Its not that I am so fat- but all the pants are low rise– we need some coverage at work people….

  82. gnappulicious says:


    actually, you’re wrong about no one missing filene’s. filene’s was the last boston-based department store. the flagship store in boston is a national landmark, and there were several newspaper articles at the time about people mourning the loss of a boston institution. i’ll hate macy’s forever.

  83. NeedaUsername says:

    Funny how Chicago people complan about Macy’s taking over Marshall Field’s. I can remember a few years back when our Hudsons (Michigan chain) was taken over by Marshall Fields!

  84. Kenosha_Suburb says:

    I registered just to comment! The joke I heard when Macy’s acquired MF’s was “How do you turn Marshall Field’s into Macy’s? Put twice as many racks in the store and throw half the clothes on the floor.”

    The last time I went to Macy’s was last year at the Vernon Hills, IL store which was formerly a Marshall Field’s. My wife was shopping for jeans and I was left to fend for myself and wound up sitting sitting on the floor for an hour while I waited for her. An older lady stopped by and said, “I’m sorry there’s nowhere to sit. When Macy’s took over they took out all the chairs.”

    Keep it classy, Macy’s! Let’s hope that race to the bottom works out for you.

  85. ARP says:

    @NeedaUsername: True, but was there a dramatic drop in service, quality, etc. like there was when Macy’s rebranded? That’s the important measure.

  86. nuvoRitchie says:

    Macy’s acquisition of Meier & Frank here in Portland, OR, was the same story. I’d been an M&F card customer since moving here, and bought a lot of clothes, jewelry and kitchenware there. I probably would have stopped shopping there because of the inventory changes. (No Dockers? In Oregon? Geez.) But it was the defensive attitude of the employees when I complained–much like carso here–that made me cancel the Macy’s card. They still send me two copies of each catalog, but I haven’t seen anything there to lure me back.

  87. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Hudson’s was not taken over by Marshall Field’s.
    Dayton-Hudson Corp. bought Marshal Field’s from British-American Tobacco & decided to have just one department store brand.
    That decision was made in Minneapolis by the D-H execs.

  88. betatron says:


    i’ve lived in Chicago for three years now and I still can’t believe that everyone here is blind enough to not know that Target (then Dayton/Hudson Corp) bought Marshall Field’s years ago.

    ya sure. Effectively everyone knows it. It was front page news for months, and Phil Miller (MF CEO) was practically burned in effigy for facilitating the sale Dayton/Hudson, however, and despite trepdations, Fields was kept largely intact and the change in ownership did not bring about a rebranding of the stores or a termendous change in product/quality. Quite the opposite, in fact: the MF branding was expanded to Hudson stores (which pissed off Motown shoppers).

    Probably the biggest issue for the Chicagoan On The Street was the outsourcing of Frango’s to some third world hellhole.

    Macy’s, otoh, came in and almost literally said “F– You. It’s Macy’s now, and we’re rebranding the State Street store and you can suck it”*. I don’t think you appreciate how badly the State Street thing was handled, nor the status that store possessed in the culture of Chicago. It is as if Walmart had bought the Macy’s on 57th street and turned it into a … walmart. Their handling of MF employees was terrible, and local media was rife with reporting about the heavy-handed imperious way Macy’s crapped on employees with generations of service and the Stalinist management attempts to purge the Old Ways.

    Tradition and loyalty: two things Macy’s failed to respect or even acknowledge, which is why they’re getting hammered here. Dayton/Hudson, by comparison did a pretty good job.

    *irather evocative of Carso’s initial post to this thread.

  89. Sarge1985 says:

    @Buran: Sorry, no. I no longer live in St. Louis (haven’t for many years) but my family is still there so we make the trip once or twice a year. I was last there at Thanksgiving last year and my wife wanted to stop at Galleria as it had been several years and we were disappointed. Though my son found some tea he liked at that little Asian tea shop.

  90. parrotuya says:

    This CEO should be executed. All CEO’s who fail to meet their goals should be executed.

  91. DanPVD says:

    I’ll always miss Filene’s as well.

  92. rdldr1 says:

    Eat shit and die Macy’s!!! Long live Marshall Fields!

  93. dazette says:

    Um, Macy’s stock price has dropped about 7% just this calendar year. When added to the stock price thud from last year, I’ll bet those stockholders are really pleased. Maybe all the lost customers that Macy’s thought they didn’t need and threw to the curb are important to bottom line results after all! Go Figure.

  94. fizzball says:

    @carso: “The problem here is that the people against the name change are so much more vocal than the people who appreciate having a Macy’s in their backyard. In truth, we’ve gained a lot more customers than we’ve lost in the areas where nameplate changes are occurring.”

    I’ve lived in MN, MI, and IL, and while it smells, Macy’s can indeed claim that about 2/3 of “former Fields customers” have no real loyalty to the Fields nameplate — those customers are actually still pining for the Dayton’s and Hudsons’ nameplates, not Fields. And Target still owns those brands, so that ain’t gonna happen. The fix was in once Macy’s figured out how to word the focus tests.

  95. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    That third world hellhole that now makes Frango Mints is Gertrude Hawk Chocolates in Dunmore, Pennsylvania.

  96. betatron says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: egg–ZACTLY. that line was pure troll. 8-]

  97. mannyv says:

    Actually, the brand power behind any name is very calculable. But in the end, the brand power is only as good as the people and attitudes that lie behind it.

    In my area of the country, Meier and Frank was replaced by Macys. Are the stores better? Not really. In M&F (and Dayton’s, Fields, etc) the stores had stuff that people wanted to buy. In Macy’s, it seems that the stores are full of stuff that people think people want to buy.

    I’m not sure why it would be that way. It’s not as bad as, say, Sears. But it’s not as good as, say, Nordstrom’s. It’s almost as if the Macy’s buyers are somewhat contemptuous towards Macy’s shoppers – a vague “eat this swill because you love it, bourgeois shopper” attitude.

  98. ideagirl says:

    @carso: We have, to the tune of $59,000,000

  99. julieannie says:

    I interviewed with Macy’s during the name change. After 3 interviews and meeting with head corporate officials and buyers/planners, I knew they were screwed. Just over a year later they opted to move out of STL as well. I would have lost my job had I not kept my eyes opened.

    From corporate’s mouth, they didn’t care if midwest shoppers prefer coupons or lower prices or specific brands, they would be Macy’s just like they were on the east coast. They wanted the shoppers to change and they couldn’t be bothered to meet the market’s demand.

  100. PSTOKELY says:

    Would there be such a backlash if they had kept the same merchandise but just changed the name? No one in Kansas City seems to be complaining about losing The Jones Store (and that was basically Famous-Barr with a different since Dillards bought it and sold it to MayCo). What if Fields had kept the same merchandise and customer service but only changed the name? Do the names really matter to people under 30?

  101. dantsea says:

    So where were all the Marshall Fields customers before the name change, and before the Macys purchase?

  102. PSTOKELY says:

    People seem to be attached the names rather than the actual stores and their merchandise. Would their sales be any better if they were still called Field’s (but otherwise the same as any other former MayCo store)?

  103. the lesser of two weevils says:

    Carso makes economics sound like the Nazis or Soviets invented it “Progress! Industry! Power!”

    As a longtime west coast Macy’s patron, I honestly hope those anti-customer/pro-shareholder sentiments aren’t universal. When selling “fashion” at high prices, it IS all about the consumer, not how to save a buck. If you can consolidate and streamline production and reduce overhead for profit that’s great, but at the cost of product or customer service, you WILL lose customers.

    Maybe it’s my part of the country but every Macy’s Ive ever been in is great, with employees who clearly love their jobs. When I moved up to Portland I encouraged my wife to apply there, and she is now an employee and likes working there. I have heard from Portland natives that they miss Meier & Frank, some of whom wont shop there anymore because of the change. But (as Carso does rightly point out) coming from another area, I knew what Macys was and what to expect from them so that’s where I went to shop, whereas Id have had no clue what M & F was. So it’s all a tossup when it comes to customer retention I guess.

    The key is to not alienate regional shoppers with new products they dont want and didnt ask for, while taking the service levels from Meier & Frank/Marshall Fields/etc. and from existing Macy’s stores to create universally good Macy’s service across the board. Then you have the best of all worlds.

  104. MrJames says:

    @gnappulicious: Sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. I was living in Boston at the time when it happened. It was just as sad as when all the Coffee Connections became Starbucks. Filene’s just wasn’t that great. Of course, half the problem was that Downtown Crossing was a complete dump. I haven’t been there in years so maybe things have improved. In any case, Filene’s never compared to Marshall Field’s. It’s like comparing JC Penny and Nordstrom’s. Marshall Field’s was at least more deserving of becoming a Bloomingdales. The point is, we all seem to despise Macy’s.

  105. tape says:

    Macy’s bought BOTH of the decently sized Boston-area department store chains, first Jordan Marsh and then Filene’s. At first, when they just changed the Jordan Marshes to Macy’s stores, you could still ignore them and go to Filene’s where the staff gave a crap and the selection was better. Then they bought Filene’s and either converted them, or in the locations where there was already a Macy’s, just closed them leaving large empty storefronts (I do not know of a single one of these that has been filled 3 years later).

    Macy’s is crap. I can go into their stores and literally not find a single item that I want to buy, and their staff is a pile of jerks on top of it.

  106. captadam says:

    When May took over Strawbridge and Clothier in Philadelphia, they combined the division with the Hecht’s division but at least had the decency to retain the name (with a slight twist) as Strawbridge’s. It was a nod to local history and one that was obliterated with the May’s name. Some may say that a name is just a name. That’s true enough. Certainly, if you are just changing the name of a few local outposts of a national chain, while centralizing the buying and marketing in a faraway place, it really IS just a name. But I, being the 27-year-old luddite that I am, feel that something greater is missing with the conglomeration of department stores into a few retailing giants. I am old enough that I can remember traveling to different cities with my parents and seeing different chains, complete with different banners, product selections, and store designs, and sensing how interesting it was that even in the same country things were so different in different places. Place all the retail in the hands of a few giants, spread one nameplate and one “brand” across the country, and you lose something bigger. You lose uniqueness. You lose local flavor. It contributes to the phoniness and dullness that increasingly characterizes life in this country.

  107. tartis says:

    Marshall Fields was a much better store than Macy’s. I shopped at Marshall Fields all the time, now I take my business elseware. Macy’s replaced high quality merchandise with cheap stuff that can be purchased at Kohls. Macy’s ruined the brand Marshall fields.

  108. NoWin says:


    Same here. Being from central Mass, my wife was a Filene’s fanatic (and I have to say I always trusted the name too), but Macy’s ain’t Filene’s. She goes to “Macy’s” now just if she reeeealy has to.

  109. MrJames says:

    @tape: I totally forgot about Jordan MAAAAAAAHSH!

  110. @carso: Yes, because it would have been EVER SO COMPLICATED and involved EVER SO MUCH OVERHEAD to call the State Street flagship in Chicago “Marshall Field’s by Macy’s” and avoid pissing off not just an entire city, but an entire region of people that identify with Chicago and when asked where they’re from say “Chicago” because nobody on the coasts knows where Terre Haute is.

    Macy’s just has total and utter disdain for its midwestern customers. They’ve made that repeatedly obvious. It’s the ugliest possible stereotypical “New York” attitude towards the Midwest. We’re familiar with it. Chicagoans are sensitive about it. And I really have no intention of shopping somewhere that considers me a hick.

  111. highmodulus says:

    Death by terrible CEO. I am sure Nordstroms is super pumped though. I put the Chapter 11 filing at T minus 24 months and counting.

    Like Sears and Circuit City, its one of those “why would anyone shop there?” relics of the 1980’s era.

  112. opposablethumb says:


    Without customers, shareholders get squat. Corporations who think their only obligation is to shareholders don’t keep their customers for long.

  113. TeraGram says:

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned by reading this thread, it is this:

    They put something into the water coolers at Macy’s and their employees are exceptionally fond of spewing corporate jargon.

    I’ve shopped at Macy’s. I’ve shopped at Marshall Field’s. I’ve shopped at Nordstrom’s.

    I will [i]never[/i] shop at a Macy’s again. I’ve given them so many chances that I’ve actually lost count. One would think that in a city like Santa Barbara, where we have Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and Saks 5th Avenue all competing in a very short distance that Macy’s would up its game to compete.

    No, instead, dear Consumerist readers, I must report they’ve done exactly the opposite.

    The last time I was in Macy’s (right around Christmas 2007) I actually traversed the entire Men’s and Junior’s department looking for an employee. I went to cosmetics and was told by a clerk “I don’t work for this store!” as she turned her back on me behind her make-up display. (Incidentally, I don’t wear cosmetics so I’m spared the decision to buy that company’s products, but I digress.)

    Next, I found an employee of Macy’s in the Women’s department, and when I began my question, was immediately told “I’m going on my break.”

    I dropped the merchandise I was carrying, right there in front of her, and told her I was going elsewhere for my Christmas shopping.

    I detailed my experience to Macy’s regional and national offices in snail-mail. I have never heard back from them.

    They don’t deserve my time and they certainly don’t deserve my money.

  114. Ninjanice says:

    I live in Michigan, so I went through the whole Hidson’s becoming Marshall Field’s thing and also the Marshall Field’s becoming Macy’s thing. I was a little disappointed when Hudson’s turned into Marshall Field’s, because I remember going to the Hudson’s building downtown with my grandmother when I was little and getting lunch at the Hudson’s restaurant when I went shopping with my mom. But, the products, quality, prices ad service remained were still good when MF took over. When MF switched to Macy’s, I did’t see the same quality or product and service. The macy’s where I live has the worst layout I’ve ever seen and forget trying to find a store directory. The prices seem to be quite a bit higher too. I have only been in Macy’s a handful of times, but each time was a disappointment. When I used to go into the mall, every other person would be carrying a Hudson’s or Field’s bag. I certainly don’t see that many people carrying Macy’s bags, so I guess I’m not the only one who’s been disappointed by Macy’s.

  115. mbd says:

    No one was really going to miss Bamberger’s

    I miss Bamberger’s. Although Macy’s had owned Bamberger’s for decades prior to renaming it Macy’s, Bamberger’s was part of NJ history. They founded the first commercial radio station in the area back in the early 1900’s, broadcasting from the top floor of their Newark NJ store.

    Haven’t shopped there since the name change a decade or so ago. Everytime I walk though a Macy’s, it seems like a Target with prices twice as high.

  116. MMD says:

    I’m a Chicagoan who never had an idealized, romanticized relationship with Marshall Fields the way some people seemed to…but I shopped there occasionally, enjoyed the ambiance of the store and felt that I was treated with respect.

    I didn’t care so much about the name change, but I was offended by the callous way in which the name change was handled. I remember hearing interviews with Macy’s higher-ups in which they completely dismissed every argument against the name change and essentially said “get over it!” They touted the “benefits”, saying that now it would be possible to do a nationwide wedding registry (as if this wouldn’t be possible if Macy’s remained Marshall Fields.

    I’ve been in Macy’s twice since the name change. Once to use a $10 gift card they sent to people to try to buy our business (I bought a $9 kitchen item with it), and once a couple of years later to give them a chance. That’s all I need to do, because the store is dirty and disorganized now. Most people I talk to have also noticed a serious decline in quality. So it may be a stretch to say that Macy’s is suffering only because Chicagoans are pissed, but it’s not a stretch to say that Macy’s ruined the State Street store.

  117. @TeraGram: I had a very similar experience, only corporate sent me a “thanks for the compliment!” form letter when I complained.

  118. laddibugg says:

    @Lambasted: I agree, they could have incorperated the MAcy’s name somehow.

    I’ve never been to Chicago or visted Marshell Fields, but I was SHOCKED when they changed the name of the store. No, make that OUTRAGED-and I live 1000 miles away. That would have been on my ‘places to visit in Chicago’ list–not anymore.

  119. laddibugg says:


    At the time, Macy’s still had some class, and I wa svery sad when that store closed. My father used to take me there once a month when I got out of school…I had such a great time riding the old-school elevators. Most of that building has sat empty for years…they only recently opened stores on the street level.

  120. Amiga says:

    @carso Shareholders matter or is it the compensation of the CEO? Man, with your mentality, we are so screwed in this country.

    On another note, Frederick & Nelson of Seattle created the Frango and not Marshall Field’s. Little things like this is where the regional loyalty is remembered, but Federated Department Stores thinks their precious Macy’s brand can take the country by storm.

    Yeah, Macy’s Guam makes a ton of sense. Long live Bon Marché and Liberty House.

  121. pandroid says:

    I have no dog in the Macy’s vs. Marshall Fields fight (I grew up with Kaufmann’s and Bon-Ton… and no idea who owns those now). Anyway, I’ve been to Macy’s twice in the past two years… and both times the service has been terrible. I actually used a gift card the second time, and the tshirt I got was cool, but waaaay overpriced. Those stores are too poorly lit, too musty, and too expensive. Give me a JCPenney’s any day of the week over a Macy’s. Not kidding.

  122. captadam says:

    @pandroid: Bon-Ton is still independently, interestingly enough.

  123. That70sHeidi says:

    When Macy’s was in select areas, YES, then it had “brand power” and was something to be viewed as an event. When it’s in every town, not so much.

    Heck I remember the first time I was in a Target in the midwest, I was so excited. Yes, it was “just Target” but when you don’t have one anywhere near you, or had never heard of it, it WAS special.

    Macy’s used to be special because it was a NYC institution. In the greed to get more money and expand, you’ve lost the unique, experience-driven branding in favor of being just another chain. And buying out other chains, whether it’s insulting to the locals or not, only dilutes your image further – “Big deal, we’ve got a Macy’s too.”

  124. krakbuste says:


    a new yorker dissing chi-town?

    how very high brow of you. blow it out your -ss.

  125. pillow_fight_girl says:




  126. colorisnteverything says:

    Macy’s is crap compared to my Marshall Field’s state street. As a resident of Chicagoland, I was repulsed by the change over. I had some great memories there at that store. I learned to shop there, practically. I bought my first designer handbag there. Then, I went to college, came home, and found it to be “Macy’s”.

    The people who work there are careless. Never have I received such bad service – with the exception of my visit a week and a half ago, where a nice gentleman sold me some Frango’s. I had just bought luggage and he genuinely seemed interested in what I was doing and where I was going. That’s how it USED to be.

    The brands are crap compared to what used to sit on the shelves. It has fallen to the ranks of Carson’s or Sears practically. The State Street store used to be a good middle-ground between Saks/Nieman’s and Carson’s.

    It’s sad and no wonder that they have lost money. They should have left the State Street store Marshall Field’s for posterity.

  127. quirkyrachel says:

    No. Us Chicagoans are pathologically resistant to big arrogant east coast companies coming in and taking over our businesses (especially ones who come in and dull down the clothing selections).

  128. quirkyrachel says:

    Though, to add to my previous post, the people who work at State Street Macy’s are really nice and helpful (most of the time). I get the feeling that they’re understaffed, but they’re still very nice. And yes, I do shop there, even if I do resent the loss of Marshal Fields. :(

  129. phone2 says:

    I used to visit Chicago frequently, and every visit, I made State Street Marshall Fields a priority destination. Yes, destination. It wasn’t just a department store, it was truly a destination in itself. Now that its Macy’s, I won’t be going back. Now even my town has a Macy’s. I don’t shop there either.