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Macy’s is about to samba to the beat of Brazil.
This story first appeared in the January 31, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
On May 16, Macy’s will kick off “A Magical Journey to Brasil,” a big, colorful, two-month-long promotion spotlighting the designs and culture of one of South America’s fastest-growing economies.
“Almost every single one of our 800 stores will have something Brazil-related,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s executive vice president of marketing.
The heart and soul of the Brazil journey and the biggest part of the program will be at 300 Macy’s locations establishing curated shops for authentic Brazilian products in fashion, home, beauty, men’s wear, accessories and art, Reardon said.
In confirming a Nov. 2 WWD report on the Brazil strategy, Reardon said the promotion will feature capsule collections by Brazilian designers and by other designers that Macy’s works with who are creating Brazil-inspired styles for the event. “It’s really all about color — bright, bright, happy color and a lot of bold graphic prints,” Reardon said. “Having said that, there are tons of grays, solids, black and whites.”
The event will raise funds to benefit the Amazon Rainforest.
Magical Journey represents a new format for Macy’s, yet one that recalls import promotions at such stores as Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney in the Seventies through the early Nineties.
It raises speculation that Macy’s could stage a string of import promotions tapping other countries, such as China, Italy or France. This would add exclusivity to the merchandising; introduce design talent and brands to the store, and help the chain go international, which officials have set as a goal for the future. Macy’s international inclinations have been evident in recent catalogues that the company shot in such places as Morocco and Tahiti, incorporating the “journey” theme.
Asked about the possibility of staging country promotions after Brazil, Reardon responded, “Anything is possible.” She declined to say if any more promotions are in the works.
Macy’s annual flower show, running March 25 to April 7, will be a teaser to the Brazil event. Flagships where Macy’s stages the flower show will be partially landscaped to reflect Brazilian horticulture, and there will be a series of special events running concurrent with the flower show, featuring Brazilian dance, music, crafts and cooking.
“Brazil continues to build a strong global footprint that appeals to audiences and diverse groups around the world,” said Reardon.
She noted that Macy’s has a large percentage of Brazilian and Hispanic shoppers.
“Magical Journey to Brasil” is timely. According to 2010 statistics from NYC & Co., Brazilian tourists spent the most in New York City, with 589,000 people spending $1.6 billion.
The 2016 Olympics will be held in Brazil, and former President Bill Clinton, during his speech at the National Retail Federation convention in New York earlier this month, characterized the country as “one of the most interesting places on earth, one of the most hopeful and one of the most environmentally responsible big countries in the world,” yet confronting complex issues revolving around generating more power supply and conserving the Rainforest.