clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Everything We Know About the Macy's Herald Square Makeover

New, 3 comments
Photo: Brian Harkin
Photo: Brian Harkin

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

While you were recovering from your Hallo-hangover, the New York Times published an explainer on all the changes—those that have taken place in the past few years as well as the goals planned for the future—at Macy's Herald Square. This explainer is so massive that we have consolidated all the information into simple bullet points lest you dare take on the daunting task of reading it yourself. Among the things we learned: The store used Ryan Seacrest and Nick Jonas as millennial bait, and about a third of everyone inside is lost.

But first, a primer: Next year, Macy's Herald Square will have completed its four-year, $400 million renovation, designed in part to attract foreign tourists looking for luxury brands, and of course, millennials.

So far, the second-floor shoe department has been transformed into a space larger than a football field, there's the addition of the Herald Square Café, the sixth floor Italian restaurant, and the cosmetics department revamp. By the time it's complete, there will have been an additional 100,000 square feet of space to one of the world's largest stores.

Those are the biggies. Now, here's everything else we learned, handily condensed:

· Macy's Herald Square by the numbers: Square footage: 2.2 million. Annual sales: $1 billion. Visitors per year: 20 million. Number of fall merchandise: 15 million; holiday employees: 6,500; executive staff: 350; hours it takes for stockroom employees to process a week's worth of deliveries: 35,000; Annual Santa seekers: 200,000.

· You'll find more smaller sizes at the Herald Square Macy's than one in a Midwestern mall "to accommodate a large contingent of Asian tourists."

· Also, weirdly enough, there are more traditionally American brands at the Herald Square location (think Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren Polo, and Tommy Hilfiger), so that tourists from across the pond can feel as though they're bringing home an exotic souvenir.

· But! New Yorkers are to thank for the relatively giant selection of black leather tote bags at the Herald Square location. Apparently, we've got an insatiable need for them (It's true). It's all part of their effort to "hyperlocalize" the stores.

· Nobody knows where the hell they're going: "In 2010, Macy's hired a firm specializing in pedestrian traffic to study shoppers' perambulations. The researchers concluded that 30 percent of visitors to the store were visibly lost."

· But it turns out, that was intentional. An expert explains, "In the old days, you wanted people to get lost in the store because, if they get lost in the store, they would stay longer and spend more."

· During World War II, the store sold live baby chickens "to encourage domestic food production."

· The Herald Square Café, which is operated by Starbucks (but isn't an actual Starbucks) was designed to appease the upscale clientele that would come for the new in-store designer shops like Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Gucci; the kind of shoppers who "wouldn't be content to rest their well-heeled feet at the McDonald's on Macy's children's floor or at the tiny Starbucks counter near the linen department."

· Ever wonder how it seems to take less than just two minutes for employees to grab your shoe size? Sales associates have an iPod Touch that tracks products with a tag ID, which is then read by a runner in the stockroom, who finds the correct pair among all 250,000.

· Macy's used Ryan Seacrest as millennial bait: A store appearance to promote his new line of men's suits an accessories was described as "a photo op engineered to go viral."

· Ditto with Nick Jonas: During an interview with Ryan Seacrest inside the store, Jonas took off his shirt to then try on one of Seacrest's from the collection in front of a whopping crowd. Said one young attendee of the PR schtick: "Nick Jonas was the real reason I came here."

· And finally, amidst all the massive changes coming to the store, only one of Macy's Herald Square's original "clanking" wooden escalators has been renovated—the others will all remain, well, clanking.

· For Macy's, a Makeover on 34th Street [NYT]
· Macy's Will Open Even Earlier On Thanksgiving This Year [Racked NY]
· Macy's Is Getting a $400M Upgrade, Adding an After-Hours Pub [Racked NY]


151 West 34th Street, Manhattan, NY 10001 (212) 695-4400 Visit Website