Macy's has announced it will eliminate more than 4,500 positions as part of a restructuring plan. It is also in the midst of closing 36 stores, first announced last year, which will affect another roughly 2,600 employees
The announcement of the 4,500 additional cuts comes as Macy's suffered a significant sales decline during the holiday season. Sales in November and December at stores open at least a year fell 4.7% from 2014. That loss contrasts with holiday spending overall, which was up 7.9% for the season, according to figures from MasterCard SpendingPulse.
The poor performance by Macy's doesn't come as a surprise to me. As I already reported. I, personally, had a terrible experience over the Christmas season at Macy's. (SEE: Has Macy's Gone Mad?)
But aside from my personal experience at a cash register, the entire experience was pretty boring. With online sales continuing to gain a greater and greater part of consumer spending, a trip to a department store needs to be made super exciting or people aren't going to do it.
There was none of that kind of excitement and energy at the Macy's in Union Square in San Francisco. It was almost as if the employees were just going through the motions. "Oh yeah, it Christmas, Let's put out some Christmas sales signs."
I speak from a tiny bit of experience. While going to college, I was a manager in a department store that was eventually taken over by Macy's. I was thje manager of the electronics department and the sportings goods department.
During my period as manager, I blew sales through the roof in both departments. In electronics sales were up 130% and in the athletic department they were up 70%. These were huge jumps. No one else in any department in any location came close. One thing I did in electronics was to arrange the stereos etc. in a manner that would drive people to the one I had plenty of in stock of and that I though was the best deal.
The department had salespeople but I reasoned that if I could present the stereos in a logical fashion so that the customer knew what the best deal was the sale would be that much easier.
It was kind of magical for me to watch customers look at the stereos and the price tags and end up at just the stereo I wanted them to end up at.
Another thing I did was at a feature spot where a stereo was to be placed, I went to the arts department and took out on an in-store consignment of this very cool looking abstract painting. It kind of looked like a sophisticated picture of blowing desert sand. I put the picture above the featured stereo spot, where I positioned the most expensive stereo, and then I had the spotlight shine on the picture instead of the stereo. In my mind it looked super cool. It was like there was a sun rising in the desert picture.
My thinking was a spotlight on the stereo was just telling customers, "Hey, buy this." in typical hustler manner. With the spotlight on the picture, it became a mood thing, "Hey, this is the cool spot."
I cam remember the store general manager walking the department with me a week or so after I had put the picture up. He looked at it long and hard and said to me, "If you sell any of those stereos, I may let you keep that up there."
We blew through the roof selling those stereos.
I also did some real creative stuff with clothes racks to create this Bam! an in your face presentation of football jerseys.
I could go on, but the point is I didn't see any of this going on at SF Macy's. It was like no one working at the store understood excitement. In the short while I was in the store I noticed at least a dozen things that should have been done to create excitement.I'm talking about major league excitement well beyond what I did in my tiny departmetns, but I didn't even see the tiny department stuff going on.
It's like the store was being run by a bunch of quants who probably don't even wear matching underwear.
I don't think the 36 stores closed by Macy's this year will be the last.
The list of Macy's stores set to close is here.