Macy's is buying holiday shoppers in the New York metropolitan area extra time.
Beginning 7 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, seven Macy's stores, including the Herald Square flagship, will be open 24 hours daily until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The other six stores are: Kings Plaza in Brooklyn, Cross County shopping center in Yonkers, the Staten Island mall on Staten Island, Roosevelt Field on Long Island, Newport Center in Jersey City and the Willowbrook mall in Wayne, N.J.
In addition, Macy's at Queens Center mall on Queens Boulevard will begin operating around the clock starting 7 a.m. Thursday.
Amid macroeconomic challenges and a highly promotional holiday season for retailers, Christine Augustine, retail analyst at Bear Stearns, differed from some competitors and consultants who suggested that the move announced Thursday was intended to offset weak holiday sales. .
"It's 'so far, so good' for Macy's,'' she said. "November was very strong. The outlook for comps in December is down, but that's as planned. So far, Macy's is tracking as planned for the quarter as far as sales. Macy's, in my opinion, has done a much better job of controlling their inventory and protecting their margins. Their competitors are a lot more desperate and doing a lot more couponing."
If the retailer "were [operating 24-7] at all of it 850 stores, I would be more concerned they were worried about the season,'' Augustine said. "But you know this is also New York — the city that never sleeps. So why not stay open 24 hours?"
Macy's countered speculation that the policy was motivated by disappointing sales. "This is not a last-minute decision," said Elina Kazan, a Macy's East spokeswoman. "Something like this you just can't pull together at the last minute." The eight stores designated for round-the-clock shopping are all "extremely high-traffic" units, she added.
As for being hard on employees, Kazan said many associates volunteered to work the overnight shift.
Last year, Macy's in Queens Center operated round-the-clock a few days before Christmas. "That was a test for us,'' Kazan said. "It was a success. We decided to expand upon it.
"There is a lot that goes into going 24 hours,'' she continued. "It's not only about the staffing. It's about getting merchandise on the floor, housekeeping, rearranging schedules, making sure cash registers are functioning."
And for customers, "Who wouldn't want the extra time to shop, so you can feel less rushed, less harried,'' Kazan said. "This gives consumers the opportunity to shop at their convenience."
A former department store executive familiar with Macy's observed: "One could say that Macy's is providing a customer convenience and that there is a need for it. In New York, there are a lot of people working different shifts," including hospital and city workers. "In this economy, people are working two jobs a day, so to get extra time to shop is a benefit. I don't think this is desperation [by Macy's], but there is no doubt they would not be doing this if the business was fabulous. They are looking for every angle to get a plus to the business," most of which he expects will come from main floor categories, including cosmetics, men's, handbags and jewelry. They tend to pick up as Christmas nears, said the former executive, who asked not to be identified, adding, "This is not a bad move, as long as you don't force sales associates to do it."
Isaac Lagnado, president of Tactical Retail Solutions, said Macy's, as one of the larger mall tenants with stores typically in the 250,000- to 350,000-square-foot range, has "dominant operations" that can readily adopt to extraordinary hours. The Herald Square flagship is already a 24-hour operation in terms of receiving, restocking the selling floors, housekeeping, security and other functions.
"I think there is anxiety, and my sense is that Macy's had this plan on the shelf as a contingency for a long time," Lagnado said.
At Wal-Mart, operating 24 hours is a year-round fact for a majority of the 2,435 Supercenters and 979 other Wal-Mart stores. Some don't because of local ordinances.
"For a place like Wal-Mart, having a skeletal sales staff into the graveyard shift, as a percentage of the total operating budget, is quite small," Lagnado said. "The heating, air-conditioning, lights, maintenance crews and computer systems that run POS and inventory systems are on regardless. The incremental costs of adding sales staff are so small that basically any incremental sales can be a boon to the bottom line. "Macy's stores are not the same as a typical Wal-Mart Superstore, but enough of the plant is the same,'' he said. "There's a good rationale about incremental revenue versus the incremental cost."
Lagnado also said operating 24 hours is a way to level the playing field against Internet competition. He characterized Macy's as being at the forefront of the department store industry in terms of distribution centers and stockrooms. "They're quite good at leading the pack in operations."
The extended hours will affect the competition immediately, Lagnado predicted. "Everybody from J.C. Penney [which also has a store in the Queens Center] to other traditional department stores will have to adjust. It's like price cutting. When a department store chooses to take a very visible markdown on a very visible line, the competition really has to match it. Macy's new hours will be widely advertised. It's a very, very muscular move that the competition has to react to probably by this weekend."
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye