RIP Marshall Field’s

This weekend, Federated Department Stores celebrates as it blankets the country with its Macy’s brand, leaving a trail of now-defunct local retailers in its wake. Federated’s acquisition of May Department Stores’ holdings resulted in a sell-off of about 100 store locations like discarded scrap. Furthermore, their Macy’s expansion has decimated time-honored and respected family brands like Strawbridge’s, Hecht’s, Kaufmann’s, Filene’s, and (most horrifically) Marshall Field’s. The arrogance of this move just astounds me, as it disrespects local communities’ rich retail heritage, while damaging the economies of shopping outlets where large storefronts now sit shuttered.

How is this good for anyone but Federated and its shareholders? Though not officially deemed a monopoly, Federated’s recent moves leave consumers with far less choice when shopping mid-range retail department stores. It would be one thing if a new Macy’s in town was something that people could value, but Macy’s just isn’t the store it was years ago. The Macy’s brand continues to decline as it becomes further diluted. It lacks the quality, diversity, and character that were once part of its heralded trademark. Consumers are now left with Macy’s sign of mediocrity hanging where communities once shopped their familiar local department stores.

Luckily, consumers still have some choices. Here are some of the choices that I’ll be making:

  • When visiting Chicago, I will pointedly go to Carson Pirie Scott.
  • I will purchase clothes at retail outlets like Eddie Bauer, Orvis, and other independent companies.
  • I will purchase housewares at Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens ’n Things, and Crate & Barrel.
  • I will shop more online (it’s amazing what you can get through amazon.com).
  • I will no longer shop at Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s.
  • I will let the world know why I’ve made these changes to my shopping habits (you’re reading it).
  • I will let Federated know that I’ve let the world know why I’ve made these changes to my shopping habits.
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