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The Story of Macy’s Acquisition


Macy’s announced its acquisition of Story today.

Story, the 2000 square foot location on 10th Avenue in Manhattan, opened in 2010 and has been rooted in the retail trends that consumers on the higher-end of the market have been migrating towards for over a decade.

Story made its name offering a limited time, curated assortment focused on a theme (or story) and consistently reinvented itself every two months.   It began by partnering with digitally native start-ups and evolved to work with retailers like Target and product companies such as Intel.  And in a time when co-working spaces are showing up in malls across America (or co-working spaces are hosting retailers), Story is experimenting with this as well.

Along the way, Story has hosted start-up pitch events which have included judges such as Neiman Marcus President and Chief Merchandising Officer, Jim Gold.  With the recent Macy’s acquisition, perhaps it is not coincidental that (Macy’s-owned) Bloomingdale’s CEO Tony Spring will be a judge at the next Pitch night – May 7th.

So why would Macy’s purchase a single concept?  Because STORY embodies one version of what retailers should be if they choose not to compete on the broadest assortment or on the lowest price.  Consistent newness.  Curated selection.  A chance to be surprised and delighted.

Of course…. this is something that department stores embodied in the past, and I’m sure Macy’s/Bloomingdale’s has the internal talent to create its own Story.  But Story neither has the internal red-tape, nor carries the staid legacy of the mother banners.

Given the size of the transaction, Macy’s isn’t hoping Story will improve its financials.  But maybe Story can help the larger company emphasize some of the fundamentals of retail.

By David Weiss


McMillanDoolittle is a premier international retail consultancy bringing deep experience with world class clients. Our partners have extensive experience interpreting the retail marketplace and converting insights into successful strategies. We help clients develop innovative solutions in strategy development, the customer experience, new concepts, brand performance, retail performance improvement and retail intelligence services.

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