Macy’s Inc., taking another step to perk up a generally challenging side of its business, has introduced a contemporary private brand called “And Now This.”
“And Now This” features elevated essentials for contemporary shoppers looking to embrace trends and confidently express themselves through fashion,” Durand Guion, vice president of the Macy’s fashion office, said in a statement Monday.
The collection seems geared toward a younger and more fashionable set, with its assortment of men’s and women’s styles described by officials as “effortlessly wearable elevated basics and sophisticated pieces at affordable prices.”
Among the women’s items: ribbed “bodycon” dresses, priced $44; cutout sweaters, $39, and ripped flare-legged jeans, $44, as well as bodysuits, outerwear and athleisure, in sizes XS to XXL.
Among the men’s items: seamed half-zip sweatshirts, $35, and brushed twill shorts, $39.50, as well as basic T-shirts, henley tops, button-down shirts, jogger sets, outerwear and denim, in sizes S to XXL.
Generally, women’s ready-to-wear hasn’t been a bright spot at Macy’s. It’s been criticized as predictable, too dependent on widely distributed labels, and lacking distinction. But over the past year or so, there’s been a string of initiatives to add relevancy, exclusivity and a more youthful appeal to the presentation.
Last May, Macy’s chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Gennette told WWD that the company has become “hyper-focused” on goods and platforms attractive to consumers under 40, and he cited contemporary fashion, along with toys, health and fitness, as part of the agenda. Asked what percentage of Macy’s customer base is under 40, Gennette replied, “When you look at the total, it’s not as high as we want. We’ve got a strategic playbook on how to get it higher.”
Online, Macy’s recently created a contemporary sitelet in men’s and women’s, and enhanced the beauty presentation by adding social media channels and virtual try-on. “The next big deal is live video,” otherwise known as livestreaming, Gennette said. “We want to make live video events as fun and as social as experiences in the stores.”
Through the first half of this year, Macy’s has performed best in fragrances, fine jewelry, watches, luxury items, boots and booties, handbags and home categories, and there has been improvement in special occasion categories as customers begin to travel and return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. But rising cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant reported over the last week or so threatens to disrupt some of the positive trends in shopper traffic and selling seen at Macy’s and many other retailers.
In other efforts to differentiate the fashion offering, Macy’s teamed with Nina Parker, TV host and content creator, and Reunited Clothing, on a plus-size collection designed exclusively for the department store. Macy’s has also focused on offering several limited-edition seasonal collections by Black creatives including pieces by Zerina Akers, Misa Hylton, Aminah Abdul Jillil, Allen Onyia and Ouigi Theodore. And in October, Macy’s announced a collaboration with the Culpo sisters on a rtw collection for “the everyday girl on the go,” called Culpos X INC International Concepts, also in partnership with Reunited Clothing. INC International Concepts is a Macy’s private brand.
To promote “And Now This” in New York City, Macy’s is dispatching a food truck with frozen treats and the collection starting at Herald Square at noon on Saturday, and continuing to Washington Square Park and Madison Square Park through the day.
Customers will be able to shop And Now This on macys.com,on the Macy’s app, and in more than 150 Macy stores. A few examples of contemporary brands at Macy’s are bar III, Free People, Naked Wardrobe, Nina Parker, Sun + Stone, Dauntless, LNA and Grayscale
Asked how contemporary fashion at Macy’s is performing, Nata Dvir, chief merchandising officer at Macy’s, replied, “We are seeing a positive response, especially online. We know many of our customers look to us for inspiration to help them express their personal style. And Now This is a natural expansion of what our customer is demanding around every day wear – elevated basics that transition seamlessly from day to night.”
On Sunday in Chicago, models wearing the collection will be in Macy’s State Street windows from 2 to 4 p.m. CST, and on July 31, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., there will be a fashion truck at the Art Walk showing the line.