Fashion / Shopping

Macy’s Debuts New Retail Concept with In-House Restaurant, Vibrant Programming and Hard-To-Find Brands

The More Immersive Market by Macy’s Signals a New Direction for the Company

BY // 02.05.20
photography Market by Macy’s

On January 23, an account called “Store With No Name” appeared on Instagram. Its first caption: “Imagine a place where you can meet friends for lunch, shop an afternoon away, and top it all off with a glass of wine. On February 6th we’re bringing you the shopping experience of your dreams.”

More carefully cryptic countdown posts followed, teasing hard-to-find, Texas-based, and direct-to-consumer brands such as Bombas socks, CBD-infused Fitish Beauty, and colorful kids’ line Rockets of Awesome, along with sneak peeks of curated store corners and murals by local artists. The location was tagged simply “Southlake, Texas.” For a store with no name, hundreds of followers were quickly amassed.

Of course, the store does have a name, and a familiar one at that. (It also has a new Instagram handle as of today.) Market by Macy’s, the department store’s new national retail concept, will open this Thursday, February 6, in Southlake Town Square, with a fresh format that aims to be something for everyone and make shopping a more exciting, immersive experience. The smaller, more intimate retail setup will serve as a new direction of sorts — the company also announced that it will close 125 department stores over the next three years.

MarketByMacys_Greendigs (Photo by Market by Macy’s)
A New York-influenced mural by Will Heron and Plants from GreenDigs, Urban Spikes, Modern Sprout, and more make up this living corner. (Photo by Market by Macy’s)

At the entrance, an ever-evolving “Table of Contents” (literal tables filled with products found throughout the store’s 20,000 square feet) sets the tone for what shoppers will find inside. Departments are thoughtfully merchandised with detailed information about each brand. Macy’s labels such as INC are layered in with brands like New York-based Tucker, Austin-based Texas Standard, and other names you might not normally see at the brand’s department store.

The idea is in line of Legacy West’s Neighborhood Goods, which just expanded to Chelsea Market in Manhattan and operates as a brick-and-mortar platform for predominately direct-to-consumer brands. The discovery-driven way of merchandising calls to mind another newly launched retail concept, Camp, which opened their first store outside of New York City in The Hill shopping center this winter.

MarketByMacys_Herald3 (Photo by Market by Macy’s)
A lounge section, filled with lifestyle products and Hay’s minimalistic furniture, in the in-store restaurant Herald. (Photo by Market by Macy’s)

But Market by Macy’s new brand experience officer, Rachel Shechtman, has been pioneering experiential retail for years. Her 2011 concept, New York-based concept store Story, was essentially a brick-and-mortar magazine, merchandising vignettes around a common, ever changing theme.

“At the time, I was thinking about all the changes in consumer behavior and online innovations,” Shechtman tells PaperCity. “But if we’re the same people offline as we are online, why aren’t we reimagining consumer experiences and business models in a physical world?”

Macy’s acquired Story (and hired Shechtman) in 2018, and — with the help of a consumer research team — landed on Southlake (a key market for Macy’s) as the first location for their new concept.

“We gathered a group for a brainstorm and asked, ‘If we’re launching a new physical retail experience that we want to be relevant a decade from now, what does that need to look like?'” Schechtman says. “We started there, and really just went back to basics.” The goal is to expand nationwide, but the second Market by Macy’s location, opening in Fort Worth this year, will stay close to home.

MarketByMacys_Mens3 (Photo by Market by Macy’s)
The men’s section incorporates a variety of lifestyle products. (Photo by Market by Macy’s)

And though there are plenty of local elements incorporated into the stores (the initial Southlake location features works by artists like Dallas’ Will Heron and Fort Worth’s Katie Murray), each Market by Macy’s location will include certain mainstays. There’s Herald, an in-store café that serves Oak Cliff Coffee, local craft beer, wine, and tea room-esque offerings (there’s rumored to be a highly addictive grilled cheese). Dallas-based Swoon the Studio designed Herald’s interiors in Southlake, and the menu was planned by Leslie Brenner Concepts.

Another regular store feature will be Gretchell’s Apothecary, a clean-lined, vintage-inspired beauty lab that pays homage to Margaret Gretchell, a Macy’s employee in the 1860s and one of retail’s first female executives. A highly edited selection of beauty brands, from Joe Malone to cult favorite Vintner’s Daughter, lines the shelves of the minty green-tiled section.

“There’s something for everyone and a versatile appeal, but still a point of view,” Shechtman says.

Getchell’s Apothecary_MarketByMacy’s (Photo by Market by Macy’s)
The apothecary section, named for the company’s first female CEO, features big name beauty brands and cult favorites like Vintner’s Daughter. (Photo by Market by Macy’s)

Event programming will also be a major element of Market by Macy’s. A towering calendar at the entrance showcases the impressive lineup of events — some free, some paid — often featuring makers or brands represented throughout the store. Upcoming February happenings: Essential Oil Making with Jen Broyles, Super Kid Cape Making with Abigail Perez, Wine Club: Introduction to Wines from Herald Cafe, and Supper Club with Urvashi Pitre (aka the “Butter-Chicken Lady”).

And though Market by Macy’s is distinct from the brand’s department store, visitors will still be able to pick up Macy’s purchases and make returns at the “Happy to Help You” desk, making things even more convenient for Southlake shoppers.

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