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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: What’s in a name. Quite a bit, according to fans of the department store Marshall Field’s. Beginning tomorrow, stores that used to be called Marshall Fields, Robinsons-May and Filene’s will have just one name: Macy’s.
Federated Department Store owns all these retail outlets. Changing the names is part of a plan to create a national department store brand. But Rachel Dornhelm reports that idea is raising some hackles.
RACHEL DORNHELM: Some Chicago residents will take to the streets tomorrow to protest the name change at their beloved Marshall Field’s. Retail analyst Dan Hess says such sentiments could hurt Macy’s sales in the short-term.
DAN HESS: I think there’s going to be some pain initially, I think it’s going to hurt in the very beginning, but ultimately it will be a good thing for Macy’s.
Hess says that’s because as a fully national brand Macy’s has bigger purchasing power — it can buy more products more cheaply. That could translate into savings for customers, says industry analyst Marshal Cohen.
MARSHAL COHEN: It now gives them the ability to compete with other national retailers like JC Penny, even Target, and even Wal-Mart that, believe it or not, have been eroding market share from the department stores for the past 10 years.
Cohen says mid-range stores are squeezed because today’s shopper will pair $26 jeans with $300 luxury shoes. The one Federated brand that won’t switch its name is Bloomingdale’s.
I’m Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.
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