Vanessa LeFebvre, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of Macy’s evolving Backstage off-price concept, has left the company.
A Macy’s spokeswoman said a successor for LeFebvre is expected to be found in the near future. Tim Baxter, Macy’s chief merchandising officer, has become acting head of Backstage in the meantime.
Sources said LeFebvre was pursuing another career opportunity, but the departure seemed sudden. She was instrumental in getting the two-year-old, growing off-price division of Macy’s off the ground. Originally a handful of freestanding Backstage off-price stores opened in the New York metro area, but later Macy’s decided to focus on developing Backstage stores inside existing Macy’s department stores by carving out significant portions of the real estate.
Last year Macy’s installed 20,000- to 30,000-square-foot Backstage off-price areas inside 15 of its locations and this year’s plan is to open 30 more. It’s an attempt to raise productivity at those boxes and to provide categories like home decor, toys and kids shoes not carried in those stores. In addition, Macy’s sees Backstage as a way to draw new customers to its stores and hopes that the new format does not cannibalize the regular selling floors, or cheapen the brand.
Backstage is different in that it introduces off-price shopping to mall settings where the concept generally isn’t found. Off-price retailers are primarily in strip or outlet centers.
Macy’s is testing different formats for the concept such as integrating Last Act, Macy’s clearance section for second and third markdowns, into Backstage.
Besides Backstage, Macy’s growth strategy involves rolling out Bluemercury shops, growing its online businesses, and its China business, which is online through Alibaba’s T-mall.