NEW YORK — With more than 180,000 square feet of space on five floors, the men’s store at Macy’s Herald Square—the world’s biggest department store—can’t help but make a statement.
But that doesn’t stop the merchant team from continually tweaking the offering to be trend-right and continually compelling to shoppers.
Toward that end, the store this fall completed a renovation of its third-floor men’s department, and updated components on its other floors. Among the changes are new shops for Calvin Klein, the first Lauren by Ralph Lauren boutique, the largest Ecko shop in the country, and new or updated boutiques for Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY and Buffalo.
“The men’s business in Herald Square is outstanding and has been for the past four years,” said Kevin Morrissey, Macy’s East’s executive vice-president and GMM of men’s and boys’, during a walk-through with DNR last week. “We wanted to be sure we became the destination for the male customer in the city. We’re always working to make Herald Square more relevant. It’s important to be top-of-mind.”
Although he declined to provide figures, he categorized performance this way: “We’ve had consistent growth—better than average.”
Men’s and children’s, in total, accounts for 22 percent of Macy’s Inc.’s annual sales of some $27 billion, or nearly $6 billion.
The most dramatic change in Herald Square is the repositioning of the merchandise on the third floor. In the past, customers coming off the elevators saw an assortment of vendor shops for tailored clothing on one side and shoe pads on the other. Now, Macy’s has created “two distinct worlds” for the categories, Morrissey said, with shoes front and center. “If he’s shopping career or shoes, we want the male customer in Manhattan to have the best options,” Morrissey said.
“The men’s shoe customer is a loyal customer and we want to own that business,” he said in explaining the reasons for highlighting footwear in the front of the floor and clothing in the rear. “It’s a purchase that the man makes for himself, and his second-biggest purchase—clothing—is a few feet away. It’s a good way to capture him.”
Like all of its merchandise categories, the shoes are segmented in good, better, best price ranges, and merchandised in trend statements. These statements include patent leather, boots and “sneaker-hybrids,” according to Steve Cardino, vice-president and men’s fashion director of Macy’s East. “We’re also dominant with key resources, but the [identification] is quite subtle,” he added, pointing to Cole Haan, Kenneth Cole Reaction and Kenneth Cole New York, Ed Hardy, Lacoste, Johnston & Murphy, Allen Edmonds and Hugo Boss. Bally shoes are new this season, he noted.
“And all the fixtures were created to platform the shoes,” Morrissey added.
Behind the shoe area is the new tailored clothing world. Morrissey said the vendor mix is essentially the same, as is the square footage devoted to the area, “but it’s mixed differently. This store has the highest level of ‘best’ vendors in the company, so we open with Boss Black and Boss Red, offer Calvin Klein as a bridge to the traditional vendors and have the first Lauren by Ralph Lauren shop in the country. We will run [Ralph Lauren] Green and Silver in this store. In Herald Square, we keep reaching as far as we can to take the customer to the next level.”
Morrissey said the Lauren, Calvin and Hugo Boss shops “tell the story” of Macy’s traditional, neotraditional and contemporary statements.
In addition, the rear of the floor offers a large suit separates department, along with segmented areas for Donald J. Trump Signature Collection—“still an important player for us,” Morrissey said—along with Joseph Abboud. “That does well for us in Herald Square,” he said of the Abboud line. “It’s a popular name and fits well, which is important to the clothing customer.”
Jhane Barnes is a new addition here, and is “doing extremely well” so far this fall, he said. Tallia is also offered.
Morrissey said Macy’s has spent a lot of time and energy enhancing its visual displays throughout the men’s department. “Men are basically deer in the headlights when it comes to buying clothes,” he said. “But if you show them a suit, shirt and tie on a display, they want the whole package.”
Moving down to the second floor, other upgrades are visible. At the base of the escalators is a trend area, currently highlighting graphic T’s and “shine,” according to Cardino.
Additionally, the floor has been “reworked,” and features an expanded Tommy Bahama shop, a Timberland shop and the world’s largest Lacoste boutique.
Calvin Klein also has a new home here. “Calvin’s a very important brand for us,” Morrissey said, “so we collaborated on a new concept shop. It’s an outstanding presentation and we’ve gotten a great response from the customer.”
There’s also a “whole new concept shop from Tommy,” which is based on the company’s successful European stores, Morrissey said.
“We always want to be the freshest guy on the block.”
Next is 1 1/2, Macy’s home for the young, urban customer. Because of the nature of this business, the floor is constantly being updated. “We’re always working to make it brand-right,” Morrissey said. “The young customer needs to see change and we want him to keep chomping at the bit.” Although this category has struggled for other retailers around the country, Morrissey said it does well in Herald Square. “It’s all about fashion—when it’s good, the business is good; when it’s not, the business suffers.”
Among the changes here for fall are a “rebuilt and expanded Sean John” area, he said, along with a new Enyce concept shop, one of the only in-store shops for Zoo York and a significant denim department. “Denim is still strong for us,” Morrissey said. “It’s still the perfect bottom for the casual customer.” Here, shoppers will also find new shops for DKNY Jeans, American Rag and Buffalo, as well as “the largest Ecko shop in the country. It’s close to 4,000 square feet and has all the bells and whistles,” Morrissey said, singling out the glittery rhinoceros heads as well as a large wooden rhino sculpture in the center of the department. “Ecko is a key strategic brand for us.” The area devoted to the shop was formerly non-selling space, he noted.
“This customer is a grazer and moves from place to place,” Morrissey said. “He needs to say that ‘Macy’s has an entire floor for me.’ When I first came to Herald Square, everybody told me that 1 1/2 was the kiss of death, but now it’s the young destination.”
Other changes in the men’s store include new shops for Puma and The North Face on the lower level, where Macy’s houses its activewear and outerwear.
In total, the renovation “took a solid nine months” to complete, Morrissey said. “We started after Father Day last year and did it in phases. We wanted to be ready for fall ’07.”
To introduce the floor to customers, Macy’s has an extensive marketing agenda, including the recently completed World of Calvin Klein events. It will mail denim, activewear and fall fashion catalogs, and this week there will also be three events on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in conjunction with GQ, Uptown and Details magazines.
“We’re constantly reaching out to our customer to let them know what’s new,” Morrissey said.