Department stores had been struggling long before before 2020, but for many, the COVID pandemic was the final nail in the coffin. According to real estate firm Green Street, nearly 200 department stores were shuttered between April 2020 and April 2021, and another 800 are expected to close by the end of 2025, per The Washington Post. Meanwhile, major chains like Macy's are still trying to find solid footing again by adjusting retail formats and switching up plans on how to attract shoppers. In fact, Macy's is now gearing up to make a major change in hundreds of stores this year. Read on to find out what will soon be happening at 500 locations across the U.S.
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Macy's has been announcing other upgrades this year.
Department stores have struggled over the last few years as retail trends have found shoppers shifting away from indoor shopping malls. To combat this, Macy's first started experimenting with smaller store formats in 2020. The Market by Macy's shops are around one-fifth the size of the department store chain's original locations, but they've successfully attracted new and existing customers.
As a result, the company revealed earlier this year that it had decided to accelerate its rollout of smaller stores. In May, Macy's announced that it would be opening an additional 10 off-mall locations, which will include Market by Macy's shops, as well as other smaller-formatted ventures for the company, such as Macy's Backstage, Bloomie's, and Bloomingdale's outlets.
Now, Macy's is announcing another change that will impact hundreds more stores across the U.S.
The company just announced a new store development.
On July 18, Macy's issued a press release informing shoppers that it's getting ready to introduce a new store-in-store format. According to the announcement, the department store chain is opening up Toys 'R' Us shops in every one of its locations in the U.S. There are currently around 500 Macy's stores in the country.
The department store chain is expanding on a partnership it's had since 2021 with WHP Global, an investment company that acquired a controlling interest in Toys 'R' Us' parent company Tru Kids in March 2021, per CNBC. Since August of last year, Macy's has offered Toys 'R' Us products exclusively for shoppers online. According to the department store, its toy sales were 15 times higher in the first quarter of 2022, following the start of its partnership with Toys 'R' Us.
"Macy's cannot wait to bring the Toys 'R' Us experience to life in our stores," Nata Dvir, Macy's chief merchandising officer, said in a statement. "We hope Toys 'R' Us kids of all ages discover the joy of exploration and play within our shops and families create special memories together. The customer response to our partnership with Toys 'R' Us has been incredible and our toy business has seen tremendous growth."
Macy's will start opening up the Toys 'R' Us stores this month.
Macy's said that the rollout of these Toys 'R' Us shops will begin in late July, with all locations expected to be opened by Oct. 15 "in time for the holiday season." The in-store shops will range in size, from the smallest at 1,000 square feet to those at flagship locations spanning up to 10,000 square feet. According to Macy's, the flagship Toys 'R' Us locations will open within Macy's stores in major cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.
"The Toys' R' Us brand will come to life in-store with playful colored fixtures as well as hands-on demonstration tables for customers to interact with various toy assortments. The Toys 'R' Us shops will also feature a life-size 'Geoffrey on a Bench' photo opportunity for families," Macy's stated in the press release. During the holiday season, some stores' footprints may increase by an additional 500 to 3,000 square feet in order to "offer an even wider assortment of products" to customers.
The toy company has been struggling for years.
This is not the first time Toys 'R' Us has tried to make a comeback. The company was once the country's largest toy provider, but in 2017 it officially filed for bankruptcy after having amassed nearly $8 million in debt, according to The Washington Post. Then in 2018, it was announced that all of the 700-plus Toys 'R' Us stores in the U.S. would be liquidated and closed permanently, per CNBC.
Just a year later, the company tried to revive itself by restarting its website and opening two physical stores in New Jersey, The Washington Post reported. This attempt ultimately failed—the two reopened stores were shuttered by Jan. 2021—but Toys 'R' Us did keep its online stores open. And just before the Macy's collaboration, a new flagship Toys 'R' Us store was opened at the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in Dec. 2021. What's next for the brand outside of Macy's remains to be seen.