Smaller stores used primarily as showrooms to display product; fixtures that show actual and virtual items and allow customers to search dot-com and store inventory; testing a full-line store in an outlet mall, and finding new ways to extract and apply information from the My Macy’s localization program were all among the topics discussed at the Macy’s Inc. investor meeting Tuesday.
“I can imagine certain stores that haven’t carried a full inventory of textiles [bedding and other products that take a lot of room to display] may be able to sample those products now,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s. “We will have great confidence in fast delivery. We may be able to have smaller-sized stores that are largely for samples.
“We will try everything,” Lundgren continued. “We’ll try 10 things and if two work, we’ll follow through on them.”
Another test: a Macy’s full-line store at the Gurnee Mills outlet center in Gurnee, Ill., which could become a template for a new concept. “If this works, it will obviously open up new ideas to think about, such as expansion in those centers with smaller footprint stores,” Lundgren said. Macy’s isn’t interested in opening bona-fide outlet stores because Macy’s sale prices and outlet store price points are very close.
“We’re testing [fixtures] that allow customers to see physical product and search all the inventory between dot-com and stores,” he said. “We’re investing big time in mobile devices. We have a mobile app, but there’s a lot more we can do to leverage that experience to blend technology with in-store to facilitate the purchase.”
During the question-and-answer session, Lundgren was asked if the company could support another $1 billion of debt. Karen Houget, chief financial officer, said, “We do have capacity to add some debt.” “Good observation,” Lundgren told the analyst. The ever-cautious Houget said, “Could be.”
The next question seemed logical: “As you look at the retail landscape, what is your appetite for mergers and acquisitions?” “You never know, but I don’t really see signs of opportunity for us in America,” Lundgren said. “There could be something elsewhere. We have close to 800 Macy’s boxes. There’s opportunity for Bloomingdale’s to grow. We’re in most of the key markets. If we acquired something [in the U.S.], it would be duplicative on the Macy’s side.”
Speaking of international, Michael Gould, chairman and ceo of Bloomingdale’s, which opened its first unit outside the U.S. in Dubai five years ago, sounded fairly bullish, but said everything depended on finding the right partner. “This is not just a concession business,” Gould said of the store. “Every major creative issue goes through us. I go twice a year.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast