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NEW YORK — Macy’s is developing a laser focus on the Millennial customer and it will be hard to miss on the sales floor next year.
This story first appeared in the October 18, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Starting in a small way this fall and expanding significantly in the spring, the retailer will launch 13 new brands and expand another 10 in an aggressive push to lure shoppers between the ages of 13 and 30. The brands will cross all categories of business, from men’s and women’s apparel to footwear and beauty. Most of the brands will be exclusive and will include Marilyn Monroe, Keds apparel, Argyleculture, Blossom & Clover and G-Star Raw.
Earlier this year, Macy’s revealed that over the next three years it hopes to capture more dollars from the Millennial customer, an age group with estimated annual spending power of $65 billion for product at Macy’s price level. The initiative, which also impacts the retailer’s organizational structure, represents an effort to move beyond the 76 million Baby Boomers to attract their 70 million children and grandchildren.
“This is phase one. We’re serious about this and we’re aggressively going after this consumer. This is not a test,” said Molly Langenstein, executive vice president and group merchandise manager for Millennial, a position that was created specifically to support the Millennial business.
Langenstein said the brands were chosen through a series of focus groups with customers and are designed to appeal to what Macy’s is calling mstylelab, customers between 13 and 22, and Impulse, the 19- to 30-year-olds. She said the store leveraged the strength of its My Macy’s localization strategy to decide upon the brands it would offer.
Langenstein dismissed the idea that younger customers prefer to shop at specialty stores, saying: “We believe that as a department store, we can go after this consumer in a holistic manner. We have a unique point of view and offer one-stop shopping. And we have the ability to curate for her, head to toe, while offering accessible price bands. We have the scope and scale to go after them whether we’re showcasing Impulse beauty brands or great offerings in shoes.”
She believes Macy’s will be able to lure this young customer to its stores by an assortment chosen for them. “It’s all about product,” she said. “Our number-one focus is to offer robust product categories to service her, whether she’s registering as a bride, looking for something special for a night out or just hanging out with her friends on the weekends.”
Macy’s will also be aggressive in promoting the assortment, using its well-established celebrity tie-ins as well as through marketing in mobile and digital channels, store environments and visual presentation in mstylelab and Impulse departments.
Langenstein declined to say what percentage of Macy’s business the Millennial represents now or could grow to in the future. The company also declined to say what product categories were being downsized to make room for the new product offerings.
The Millennial initiative will also include in-store shops for Made, a New York Fashion Week collaboration from Milk, The Terminal Presents and Prodject that started in 2009 and showcases emerging design talent. Macy’s will offer revolving collections of contemporary fashions within the Impluse department and there will be Made shops in 150 doors and online. The product will rotate regularly and be priced at an average of $65. Each capsule collection will feature 20 to 30 runway-inspired pieces, including dresses, wovens, knits, jackets, pants and skirts.
Among the brands that will be new to the store are Marilyn Monroe, which will include the brand’s first ready-to-wear collection along with shoes. It is being targeted to the mstylelab shopper. “We love the ability to bring Marilyn Monroe to life,” said Langenstein, adding that the actress was “global and glamorous” and had a true “American sensibility. She has 42 million fans on Facebook, a number that’s growing all the time. She’s as relevant as she was 50 years ago. What’s old is new again.” The product offering will include sportswear and screen T-shirts, priced from $29 to $89, that are designed to hug a woman’s curves.
The Keds collection, also for the mstylelab customer, will offer apparel that stays true to the footwear brand’s happy heritage. It will launch exclusively in 150 Macy’s doors and online and will encompass dresses, skirts, pants, knits, wovens, tops, jackets, shorts and Ts priced from $28 to $68. Langenstein said she was pleased that Keds just signed Taylor Swift to be the new face of the brand, believing that association will help bring young girls into the fold.
Blossom & Clover from Sanctuary Clothing will debut in the Impulse department in 150 Macy’s stores and is targeted to a twentysomething woman. The line of knits, wovens, dresses, shorts, jackets and denim will retail from $38 to $88.
Truth or Dare is part of the Madonna family of products available exclusively at Macy’s. The brand extension into shoes will be sold in 150 stores and will include a collection of contemporary and fashion flats, stilettos and over-the-knee boots that will sell for $79 to $170.
G-Star Raw for the mstylelab young men’s customer will offer denim, Ts, outerwear, knits, pants and shorts priced between $35 and $200. Ambiguous, which debuted in around 25 stores for fall, offers the mstylelab young man a line of casual sportswear with a skateboarding positioning. It’s priced between $22 and $90. Ezekiel Clothing, also an mstylelab young men’s brand, launched this season in about 20 doors. It offers Ts, knits, fleece and jackets, and is popular with surfers, skaters, photographers and artists. The line retails for $23 to $160.
Other young men’s labels being introduced in mstylelab include Comune, which offers Ts, knits, wovens, outerwear and pants designed to “reflect carefree idealism” and priced at $26 to $225; DTA, launched this fall in more than 50 Macy’s stores, which offers Ts inspired by the headlines of outrageous events and priced at $24 to $28; Fatal Clothing, which will launch in 25 stores for spring, is tattoo inspired with T-shirts that retail for $24 to $28, and Plan B from Billabong USA, a skateboard-inspired line of Ts, fleece and hats, that debuted in 15 stores for fall and is priced at $20 to $120.
Argyleculture, which is currently available in 100 Macy’s stores in the Impulse department, combines an urban aesthetic with Ivy League heritage. The line of knits, wovens, shorts, pants, denim, sweaters and Ts retail from $65 to $225.
The brands that are being expanded are Rachel Rachel Roy, whose shoes and handbags will be offered to a wider variety of Impulse customers. The bags are priced from $58 to $118 and will be offered in more than 40 stores, while the shoes, priced from $69 to $179, added 50 stores this season.
Else, from Joe’s Jeans, is targeted to the Impulse shopper with denim styles retailing for $68 to $88. The collection is now available in more than 300 doors and offers four fits: skinny, boot cut, cropped and boyfriend, in a variety of colors.
Kensie offers sportswear and outerwear priced between $35 and $168. It will be rolled out to 200 additional doors, for a total of nearly 300, while its shoes are being offered in 50 stores. They retail for $69 to $199.
DV by Dolce Vita shoes, for the Impulse shopper, will expand to an additional 435 stores this fall to nearly 500 units. The colorful and patterned flats, wedges and pumps are priced $59 to $215.
Material Girl, a Madonna-inspired Macy’s private brand for the mstylelab customer, will expand to more than 500 stores for fall and 600 for spring with a focus on denim, knits and wovens. Also for spring, the line will launch fashion jewelry, handbags and accessories in the mstylelab department of 415 stores, priced from $7 to $28.
American Rag, another private brand, will relocate its accessories from the main floor to the mstylelab department. For spring, it will add fashion jewelry priced from $8 to $20 to more than 300 Macy’s stores.
Inglot Cosmetics will launch for spring in the Impulse beauty department in more than 30 stores, and Smashbox Cosmetics will expand to 70 stores by spring.
Kipling’s backpacks and accessories is adding another 30 stores to nearly 485 stores for spring; Steve Madden Handbags will add handbags to another 90 stores, and Stussy’s young men’s urban street apparel will be available in 30 stores for fall.
These brands join an assortment that includes Bar III, Denim & Supply, Guess, XOXO, Jessica Simpson, Sean John, Armani Jeans, BCBGeneration, Lucky Brand, MAC Cosmetics, Urban Decay, Benefit and Bare Escentuals.