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Macy's has officially entered into competition with department stores' off-price locations like Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off Fifth, and Bloomingdale's Outlet with Macy's Backstage, debuting its first location in Sheepshead Bay last week. It's a full-circle move for this address, which previously housed a Loehmann's, according to WWD.
"We are building a brand here — a sub-brand," Macy's chief innovation and business development officer Peter Sachse told the paper during a store preview "The young Millennial mom is the focus." That means you'll find a mix of clothing (brands mentioned include Inc, Jessica Simpson, Carmen Marc Valvo, The North Face, and Tommy Hilfiger), accessories, home goods, and food selections that aren't necessarily sold at traditional Macy's locations, but at a price point that younger customers can reach with discounts going as high as 80% off retail.
The store also plans to "graduate" customers to full-price locations as they get older and (presumably) have more disposable income; that's why you'll see travel-sized bottles of perfumes here that are available full-sized at, say, Herald Square.
Future locations rolling out over the next few months include Long Island, the Bronx, and West Orange, New Jersey; a store in Elmhurst has already opened. Each of these locations will be slightly tailored to the customers that would shop there: The paper gave the example of more furniture in Long Island stores for those with cars, and off-price fur coats in Sheepshead Bay that caters to the Russian community that favors them.
Macy's Backstage will borrow techniques from competitors like TJ Maxx — that's the number-one store to which traditional Macy's stores were losing customers, executives learned — with weekly merchandise deliveries to encourage repeat visits. They'll also cater to a younger clientele with features like mobile checkout, phone charging stations, and signs in the fitting rooms that read "Selfie Time" and "You Look Fabulous."
"We want to get in there and learn. Backstage is now in a pilot phase," Sachse told the paper. "We are testing a lot of things. It's not going to be perfect, but we want it to be agile and fast."