NEW YORK — Macy’s Inc. is losing another top men’s merchant.
Richard Arnstein, a 36-year-plus veteran of the retailer and its executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear, has opted to take the company’s buyout package and will leave his position at the end of this month.
As reported, David Fisher, who held the same role at the company’s Bloomingdale’s division, also took the buyout and will leave the retailer on Thursday.
Both departures are part of Macy’s Inc.’s plan, revealed at the end of last year, to offer buyouts to some of its veteran employees. To qualify, employees must be at least 55 years old with enough tenure that the total adds up to at least 70. These voluntary separation opportunities are intended to “reduce ongoing expense and streamline management,” according to Macy’s. About 360 executives qualified for the offer.
Macy’s did not immediately identify Arnstein’s successor.
“I thought this was a good time to start chapter two,” he told WWD. Taking the buyout “afforded me the opportunity to explore other options.” He said his exact plans are not yet known and he will take time to “understand all my available options. I’m keeping them all open. But it is not my intention to fully retire.”
He said that during his time at Macy’s, he was fortunate “to work with many outstanding leaders and to have been mentored by so many. I was proud to be part of a team that kept growing its market share in the men’s wear industry, and also to have been able to see the completion of the four-year renovation of the Herald Square flagship. There was never a dull moment.”
“Throughout the many merchant roles Richard has held at Macy’s, he has always been a visionary leader striving to deliver growth to our company, our vendors and industry,” said Tim Baxter, chief merchandising officer for Macy’s Inc. “He is an exceptional merchant who has been a terrific partner to our vendor community, identifying opportunities through brand and product launches to capture the evolving consumer. His many successes at Macy’s throughout his career speaks volumes to the caliber of merchant he is. While growing our business, he has also developed an incredible men’s wear team that I believe is the gold standard in retail. We only wish Richard the best on what’s next.”
Ronny Wurtzburger, president of Peerless Clothing, called Arnstein “a take-charge businessman who was tough but fair. “I liked that you always knew where you stood with him. Even when he turned you down, he did it in a way that you knew he was doing what was best for Macy’s. He was a business friend at Macy’s and I’m proud to say he will be my personal friend in the future.”
Marc Schneider, chief executive officer of Kenneth Cole Productions, called Arnstein “a strong leader in the men’s wear business for a long period of time and a highly respected representative of Macy’s. He is a terrific merchant, always focused on satisfying consumer needs and wants. He has always had an open to listen and an open to buy for new and innovative ideas and product. Richard has been a true advocate for the men’s industry and a strong supporter of the Kenneth Cole brand. I am fortunate to have worked with Richard for many years and I am pleased to call him a friend.”
Herb Siegel, chairman of Randa Accessories, said he’s known Arnstein for more than 35 years. “We were both youngsters. Of course, he was even younger than I was, so he had to listen to me. We didn’t know what we didn’t know, so we made it up as we went along. Overall we did pretty well. Richard is more than an industry [legend], he’s a friend and a neighbor, and will remain so for many years to come.”
David Katz, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Randa, said Arnstein’s influence in men’s wear “is substantial and enduring. Most recently, I had the privilege of working closely with Richard on the launch of Ryan Seacrest Distinction at Macy’s. In this endeavor, and many others, Richard showed his unique vision and personal ownership. He quickly took the lead, became coparent of the brand and of the project, and as with all good parents, he was always available and supportive. In Richard’s wake there will not be a vacuum, there will be a legacy.”
Arnstein was named to his current position in 2010. He started his career as an executive trainee at the former Abraham & Straus division in 1979. He held various merchandising positions in men’s wear over the years and in 1997 was named senior vice president of jewelry for Macy’s. Two years later, he was elevated to executive vice president and gmm of center core. In March 2007, Arnstein was appointed executive vice president of marketing and fine jewelry, and in 2009, was elevated to executive vice president and gmm for jewelry and fashion accessories.