By  on September 6, 2008

If shopping Macy's Lenox Square, the largest and one of the trendiest stores in the company’s Central division, isn’t exciting enough for customers, the store will also throw in a ride on a giant pink pig.

Macy’s re-created Priscilla the Pink Pig, and other traditions begun at Atlanta-based Rich’s after that 28-store chain was integrated into Macy’s in 2003. Rich’s stores were renamed  Macy’s in 2005. Priscilla is part of the company’s My Macy’s initiative and is an example of how the nationwide retailer is intent on embedding in the communities it serves. The original downtown Rich’s flagship launched Priscilla the Pink Pig, a Christmas children’s ride, in 1953, complementing the Great Tree lighting on top of the store, begun Thanksgiving night, 1948. Rich’s downtown store closed in 1991, and both attractions were reinstated at the Lenox Square unit in 2003 and 2000, respectively. Macy’s employees also continue to participate in volunteer charity programs begun through Rich’s, including Partners in Time.

And Macy’s is ramping up its local focus even more. Consolidating seven divisions into four, the Lenox store became part of the 238-store Macy’s Central Division in May. Regional teams increased from 20 to 80 people, all charged with focusing on local markets, such as Atlanta, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, within the division.

“We have more regional and district planners now, who identify how each market is unique,” says Drew Pickman, chief merchandising officer of Macy’s Central. “Systems are in place so we know sizes, local preferences and tourist traffic, and we can plan accordingly.”

The 433,000-square-foot Lenox Square flagship opened as Rich’s in 1959, and since then has undergone a number of renovations and expansions, including a 1995 makeover in time for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

The first floor of the three-level store is moving toward more updated, trendy merchandise, says Pickman. Handbags, one of the fastest growing categories, focuses on brands like Dooney & Burke, Cole Haan and Michael Kors. Many of these brands include selling specialists to educate customers.

Cosmetics is also growing, with unique features such as the Macy’s exclusive line Lush, a Cosmetics Deli, featuring soap and bath products in an open, market format, with sinks that encourage customers to experiment.

Drawing a range of international, regional and local customers, the Lenox store requires a broader array of product geared toward each segment than stores in smaller markets.

At Lenox, a display of Beijing Olympics-themed merchandise from Polo Ralph Lauren and other vendors targets international customers. Macy’s Lenox also has depth in career apparel, including Jones New York for women and Hart Schaffner Marx suits for the business crowd.

Regionally, as Atlanta has become a mecca for the music industry, the store has stocked up on brands like Emporio Armani, Ed Hardy and Hugo Boss. The trendy local clientele has also inspired an explosion of premium denim, which has doubled in space twice in the past year, and now occupies one-fourth of the entire first floor, along with accompanying T-shirt lines, such as Calvin Klein, Buffalo and Affliction. Junior departments tie together best-selling brands like Roxy, Baby Phat and American Rag, plus Macy’s private labels, in vignettes that put entire looks together.

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