Macy's plans to open three smaller stores this fall as the department store chain shifts away from suburban malls to more densely populated areas. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
July 20 (UPI) -- Macy's is speeding up plans to exit suburban shopping malls, in favor of more densely populated areas, as the department store chain repositions its real estate to reflect shoppers' preferences coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Macy's announced Wednesday it will open three Market by Macy's stores, including its first-ever dual Market by Macy's and Macy's Backstage off-price location this fall.
"We want to be convenient and we want to make it easy," Macy's chief stores officer Marc Mastronardi told CNBC. "Customer behavior just keeps changing. And the more that we have the agility as an organization to shift and react, this feels like the next natural evolution."
In February, Macy's announced it would close 125 stores in "lower tier malls" within the next three years and shift its focus to "off-mall" formats.
Since then, Macy's has opened five Market by Macy's stores. The stores are about one-fifth the size of Macy's department stores and give customers a place to pick up their merchandise after buying it online. The three new stores opening by the end of the year will be located in the Chicago metropolitan area, the Chesterfield area of St. Louis and Suwanee in the Atlanta area.
Macy's shift to smaller stores away from malls is part of a larger trend in the retail industry, since the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers seek out quick shopping experiences that do not require going inside a mall.
Mastronardi said Macy's customers are spending three times more online, on average, in markets where the retailer also has brick-and-mortar stores. "When we can be near a customer with a physical format our digital business is significantly better," he said.
"At Macy's, we thrive on retail being a dynamic business requiring continuous analysis, reinvention and innovation," Mastronardi said. "As customer preferences and buying behaviors change, we continue to evolve to deliver the experience our customers expect."