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Macy's to open off-price stores in autumn


Macy’s will finally unveil its off-price business model in the fall by opening four new stores in the New York City area under a name that might not be so unfamiliar to loyal customers.

The new business, one of the department store giant’s major growth initiatives announced earlier this year, will be called Macy’s Backstage. The name ostensibly comes from the retailer's Backstage Pass digital coupon program, launched in 2011.

The four pilot Backstage stores will average about 30,000 sq. ft. and offer women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, shoes, fashion accessories, housewares, home textiles, intimate apparel and jewelry. Each store also will include amenities, such as free WiFi and a suite of spacious fitting rooms. One location will test a café concept.

Merchandise will include clearance goods from Macy’s stores, as well as special buys from well-recognized fashion brands – often between 20% to 80% off of original and comparable prices for similar merchandise.

“We believe we can deliver a whole new level of value to customers who appreciate fashion and love to hunt for a bargain,” said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief innovation and business development officer.

“Backstage is a new retail concept that the Macy’s team has built from scratch over the past six months. It will be an exciting shopping experience supported with compelling marketing, both traditional and mobile. As with all of Macy’s innovations, we will test and learn to see what resonates most with customers so we can adjust before rolling out additional locations.”

The pilot store locations are:

• Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, N.Y.

• Queens Place, Elmhurst (Queens), N.Y.

• Lake Success Shopping Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.

• Melville Mall, Huntington, N.Y.

Macy’s Backstage stores will accept Macy’s charge cards, as well as other forms of payment. The business will not be driven by promotional events, and Macy’s coupons will not be accepted in the off-price locations.

TJX, which operates T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, Ross and Burlington stores have outperformed Macy’s in quarterly same-store sales growth over most of the past six years as the Great Recession made shoppers more value conscious and chains like TJX gained increasing access to hot brands.

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