Macy's (M) has set out to create another miracle on 34th Street with a $400 million revamp of its fabled flagship store in New York City, the biggest store in the world. The makeover plan includes initiatives that could shake up the department store format, including a new focus on more upscale food with 22 eateries, and an emphasis on technology that reflects Macy's courtship of Generation Y.
Changes to Macy's Herald Square store, which serves 20 million people a year and 50,000 shoppers daily, could be rolled out to other stores in the 850-unit chain, said CEO Terry Lundgren during a press preview.
The makeover will introduce the "mstylelab" juniors department on the lower level for shoppers 25 and under, fashioned as a "technology infused" environment to appeal to younger shoppers' social instincts, the company said.
A new brew pub geared toward this shopper from a well-known chef is also on tap for the lower level, as well as new casual dining concepts cooked up by Macy's Culinary Council of celebrity chefs. The iconic housewares Cellar, which has lived on the lower level since its 1972 debut, will be moved up to home department on the eighth and ninth floors.
The retailer is also creating the new Impulse apparel and accessories department for the 13- to 30-year-old shopper. "We're focusing on millennials because they're huge," Lundgren said.
In addition, "technology is a big focus for us," he said.
To that end, the remodel will include the addition of interactive store directories, a system to stream live video feeds of Macy's events nationwide, digital product information, and a new mobile app to guide consumers on their shopping trips.
An enhanced shoe locator system will work its way into the shoe department, which will be transformed into the largest shoe store in the world. It will occupy 39,000 square feet and carry 300,000 pairs of shoes on any given day. "Once you get a woman in a shoe, it's over," Lundgren said, noting that the business, which is on fire right now, engenders consumer loyalty.
The shoe department will also introduce a new coffee, wine and chocolate bar, "which is a great way to extend her visit," he said.
The exterior of the Herald Square store is also going under the knife. Windows along Broadway, 34th Street and Seventh Avenue that have been covered for decades will be opened up, as will windows on the upper levels to allow more natural light into the building.
New exterior lighting will shine a spotlight on the building's architectural details, while Macy's-branded "welcome mats" will be added to all store entrances.
The makeover will begin early spring 2012 and will continue in phases through fall 2015.
It will be the largest store renovation on record in the U.S., Lundgren said. "It's unprecedented."
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