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The Flagship

Some noteworthy facts about the store and the company.

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Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Milestones issue 09/06/2008

Did you know…

This story first appeared in the September 6, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Herald Square’s opening day: November 8, 1902

Average shoppers daily: 35,000; up to 75,000 on peak holiday days.

Gross square feet at Herald Square: 2,169,000

• The flagship is considered the third-most-visited site in the city after the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.

• The store has National Historic Landmark status.

• Designed by De Lemos & Cordes, it is lauded by critics as one of the architectural jewels of turn-of-the-century New York.

Famous Firsts

• In 1862, Macy’s is the first store to bring Santa inside to greet children. Previously he stood outside to draw crowds. Macy’s also inaugurates elaborate holiday windows that year.

• Macy’s is the first American retail store with modern-day escalators in 1902, and those original wooden escalators are still in operation at the flagship.

• At the festivities marking the 100th anniversary of the Herald Square store, actor F. Murray Abraham says his first job in New York was playing Santa at Macy’s.

• Macy’s Margaret Getchell LaForge becomes the first female retail executive in 1866.

• Macy’s is the first department store to stay open until midnight on Christmas Eve, 1867.

• In the 1890s, Macy’s pioneers the concept of private brands for fashion goods. During this decade, its Macy’s and Red Star brands are all the rage in New York.

• In 1924, Macy’s hosts the first annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, performed solely by company employees. The procession features floats, bands and animals from the zoo, and draws 10,000 onlookers.

• Macy’s introduces colored bath towels to America in 1932.

• Macy’s holds the first liquor license issued in New York City after Prohibition.

• Macy’s launches the first department store Flower Show in 1946.

• Macy’s wins its first Emmy, along with NBC, for the Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast in 1980.

• Macy’s opens its first store outside the continental U.S., in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2000.

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