Since March, Mr. Spring has been C.E.O.-elect of Macy’s Inc., which is the largest department store operator in the United States by revenue, once Bloomingdale’s and the cosmetics chain Bluemercury are factored in.
“Tony, I think, has done a better job, quite frankly, than the Macy’s organization has done in keeping their stores tuned into their customers and making the presentation sparkle, be enticing and making people want to walk to the store to get ideas,” said Allen Questrom, the former chief executive of Federated Department Stores, as Macy’s parent company was then known.
But bringing change at the corporate level will be a different task than running Bloomingdale’s.
Macy’s has a broader customer base than Bloomingdale’s and skews less to luxury goods. Macy’s roughly 560 stores are spread from its crown jewel location in Manhattan’s Herald Square to dying malls scattered across America’s smaller towns; Bloomingdale’s has about 60 locations. Half of Macy’s customers have a household income of $75,000 or less, while Bloomingdale’s, whose big brown bags had long been a status symbol, draws shoppers with higher incomes.
In the past decade, there has been considerable consolidation in the department store sector with the fall of Sears, Barneys and Lord & Taylor. Of the remaining chains, Macy’s broad store base poses a unique challenge, retail and real estate analysts say. Macy’s is more dependent on malls and has had less success than Kohl’s and Nordstrom in defining what sets it apart, said David Silverman, retail analyst at Fitch Ratings. Macy’s also has increasing competition from discount chains like T.J. Maxx and Burlington.
“Macy’s continues to be the most average department store,” Mr. Silverman said. “It’s the most exposed to competitive incursion from the off-priced channel. It’s the most exposed to traffic declines across many regional malls.”