LOS ANGELES — The second floor of Macy’s downtown Los Angeles flagship was abuzz Thursday evening as attendees celebrated the opening of a visitor center.
It’s the only one at a Macy’s in Southern California and one more signpost for the 250,000-square-foot remodeled flagship that anchors the retail portion of The Ratkovich Co.’s The Bloc mixed-use project in downtown. Most of the tools in Macy’s tool chest were funneled into the store’s major redo, from an incoming restaurant set to open in the spring to shops-in-shop, such as a recently opened LensCrafters, incoming Nike training center and, now, a visitor center that speaks to the tourists the store attracts.
“This is one of the bigger remodels in the Southwest region so it’s a significant investment for our company and it complements what Ratkovich, the developer, is doing,” said Macy’s district vice president Michael Ellmann. “It’s really a transformation and we have the latest, greatest, innovative shopping solutions. It’s all state-of-the-art, both in technology and aesthetics. If you come to our downtown L.A. Macy’s store, you’re seeing Macy’s as a corporation putting their best foot forward for the future.…Every innovative idea that Macy’s has as a corporation is being put into downtown L.A.”
The investment into the downtown store is a significant one in the context of the rest of the Southwest region and happens as its corporate parent looks to shrink its footprint in a bid to restore the business. Macy’s Inc. said Thursday it planned to shutter some 100 stores, which would allow it to focus on digital and the growth of its higher-performing stores. Among the stores being shuttered is the retailer’s men’s-only store in San Francisco’s Union Square.
For the flagship at The Bloc project, the company is banking on a full revitalization of downtown Los Angeles, which has started showing signs of traction in more recent years with the influx of residents and restaurants. New development in the form of residential, retail and office could also bode well for the area.
A Sessions West Coast Deli will be added to the downtown Los Angeles Macy’s second floor and is expected to open in the spring. The Newport Beach, Calif., sandwich concept, Ellmann said, represents the Southern California lifestyle as the store looks to reflect the local community.
“We continue to layer on better vendors,” Ellmann said, with women’s shoes set to see Kate Spade and Aldo among other brands.
Furniture was added late last year. Women’s apparel, which was a lackluster business prior to the store’s major remodel, is now back and expected to expand dress offerings with special occasion and bridal.
The store began seeing double-digit growth when the barricades came down in mid-May, with the third and fourth quarters expected to finish out “strong,” in line with projections, according to Ellmann.