By  on February 2, 2009

Macy’s Inc. is reducing its workforce by 4 percent, or 7,000 jobs, and centralizing from four divisions to one, joining the phalanx of retailers nationwide that within the last several weeks slashed expenses and head counts to cope with the worsening economy.

The move to centralization is a huge change for Macy’s, yet one that seemed inevitable. For most of its 150-year history, the retailer operated regionally with different divisions. In the last 25 years, however, Macy’s steadily consolidated and eliminated historic nameplates such as Filene’s, Marshall Field’s, Bamberger’s and Abraham & Straus that were inherited through acquisitions and mergers, among them Federated Department Stores Inc. in 1994 and May Department Stores Co. in 2005, which propelled Macy’s into a national chain with $27 billion in revenues. Macy’s now seems to be playing catch up to primary competitors such as Target Corp., Kohl’s Corp. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc., which have long operated centrally.

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