CINCINNATI — Federated Department Stores is preparing a fresh foray into men’s apparel with a new private label.
At its annual shareholders meeting here, the company announced its plan to revamp the former Marshall Field’s Field Gear private label and launch it as the retailer’s newest men’s private brand.
“We love the name,” Terry Lundgren, president, chairman and CEO, said. “But it was on inexpensive sportswear.” The line is being refocused as an “extreme sportswear” label patterned after such performance brands as Under Armour and The North Face.
Calling these labels “authentic lines for athletes” the Field Gear brand is “right for product in our stores.” A spokesperson said the label will be rolled out to “all divisions where appropriate.”
It was also announced on Friday that shareholders approved a corporate name change that will replace the Federated moniker with Macy's Inc., beginning June 1. The company's stock will trade under the symbol, "M," on the New York Stock Exchange.
The name change, which was expected, indicates the $27 billion company's focus on the Macy's nameplate, which accounts for the overwhelming majority of its annual sales. Lundgren stressed however, that the shift does not indicate a lack of commitment to the company's higher-end brand, Bloomingdale's.
"Bloomingdale's is very important to our company but Macy's represents 90 percent of our business," he told shareholders. But with the name change, "now every time we talk about the company, there will be more and more exposure for Macy's and a way to extend the brand."
He stressed that there are no plans to spin off the Bloomingdale’s business. During his prepared remarks, Lundgren said Bloomingdale’s “has emerged as a very strong performer serving an upscale, contemporary customer.”
While Bloomingdale’s was a highlight, Lundgren admitted that the former May Co. stores continue to struggle. To counteract the trend, Lundgren said Federated will revert this fall to a more-promotional stance at those units. “We threw a lot of change at the May Co. stores very quickly,” Lundgren told a press briefing following the meeting. In addition to merchandising shifts Federated also significantly reduced the number of promotions it ran in those stores to match the cadence within the legacy Macy’s doors. That “pullback” in couponing forced many former May Co. customers to shop elsewhere.
“We still believe long-term that this is the right strategy, but the rate of change was too fast,” he said. “So we’ll be strengthening the [promotional] calendar for the fall season.”
The number of promotions will “be closer” to that at the May Co. doors last fall, he said, declining to be more specific on the number. Federated had reduced promotions in the spring season.
Lundgren stressed that since legacy Macy’s doors are performing well, “there’s no need to go back” to a more-promotional stance. “They will stay on that strategy.”
Calling promotions a “marketing tool drilled into consumers’ heads,” he said the goal is to eventually bring all the stores onto the same promotional calendar. “We have to wean them off promotions,” he said.
Lundgren said Federated will also move toward a different mix of media in its advertising efforts, employing more newspaper and television, or what he termed a more “public” approach. This is designed to attract the former May Co. shoppers who are less likely to have store credit cards and are thus harder to target with direct mail efforts.
On the men’s wear front Lundgren said sales in the category are significantly stronger in the legacy Macy’s doors than in the former May Co. units.
“The Macy’s legacy stores had a good first quarter, the May stores did not. The story in men’s is similar to the total picture,” he said, noting that “traditional product” has been the weakest area. The company has a stronger “neo-traditional and contemporary business” at the legacy Macy’s stores while May stores are more traditional, leading to the slowdown in those units.
“We have to go back and look at the balance and make sure it’s appropriate,” Lundgren added. “Our answer lies in the ability for you to walk into our stores and say: ‘You know who I am.’ We have to focus on attention to detail.”
Tailoring its assortment by market is one of five initiatives Lundgren identified at the meeting. The others are “stimulating improvement” in the struggling home furnishings business—which will be marked by the introduction of the Martha Stewart Collection this fall—along with continuing its marketing of the Macy’s name on a national basis. Improving technology, including rolling out 50,000 new point-of-sale terminals to stores over the next three years, and capitalizing on its strong employee team, rounded out the priorities for 2007.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion