Activist hedge fund Starboard Value once had a plan for struggling department store chain Macy’s.
In January 2016, Starboard founder and CEO Jeff Smith and his team outlined in a presentation their vision for how the company could unlock what they said was $21 billion in assets — namely, Macy’s real estate holdings — by spinning them off from the retail business.
The department store retailer didn’t bite, and the hedge fund couldn’t rally enough shareholders to try to force the issue. This May, a frustrated Starboard finally surrendered, writing in a securities filing that it had sold its entire stake in Macy’s — almost 1% of the company.
The episode is emblematic of the different mentalities of retailers and the financial gurus that own their stock. While Starboard wanted to pump cash out of Macy's, the retailer wanted maximum control over its financial and geographic destiny.
Macy’s — just a decade after adding 1,000 new stores in an aggressive expansion — maintains that it is determined to reap what cash it can from its real estate. But in taking a slower, more careful approach, the company might have missed an opportunity to get the most value for its real estate.
Now, as the retailer sheds many dozens of unproductive stores, it could have trouble finding buyers for the properties it actually wants to sell. The reason for that is simple, well-known and even more troublesome for Macy’s: Department stores and the malls that house them are in a steady decline.
Starboard did not respond to requests for comment from Retail Dive. A spokeswoman for Macy's declined to comment specifically for this article and instead referred Retail Dive to previous public statements.
The activist and the retailer
Macy’s has historically chosen to own its real estate whenever possible as a way to add certainty to its balance sheet.
As of January 2017, the company owned outright 382 of its 829 stores in the U.S. “They did a calculation and decided it was more efficacious to own real estate and therefore control real estate costs rather than be subject to the vagaries of the marketplace by paying rent,” Mark Cohen, a former retail executive and current director of retail studies and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, told Retail Dive. “This is not a haphazard decision. It was a decision made a long time ago and a decision they have pretty much stuck to because they have financial capacity to own their own portfolio.”
By owning its real estate, Macy’s could guarantee itself a degree of financial stability. It can operate those stores with minimal expenses — essentially, just the cost of operating the store plus maintenance and other minor costs that pale compared to rent, Cohen said. “It’s stable, predictable, reliable as you look out to the future… This is a tremendously effective way to operate.”
“It’s stable, predictable, reliable as you look out to the future… [Owning your stores] is a tremendously effective way to operate.”
Director of retail studies at Columbia University Graduate School of Business
As Daniel Herrold, a senior director with the real estate brokerage and advisory firmStan Johnson Company, describes it, big-box retailers like Macy’s see rent as debt and want as little of it on their books as possible. But where Macy’s saw a financially stable operating model, Starboard saw value that was trapped and could be passed on to shareholders — itself among them. Starboard estimated last year that Macy’s could unlock $10 billion of shareholder value by separating its $21 billion in real estate assets from the retail operations.
The disagreement in viewpoints went all the way down to the store level. As Herrold points out, Starboard wanted Macy’s to sell “the good stuff” — the most productive store properties in the most valuable real estate areas. Instead, Macy’s wanted to hold onto its best properties and sell off the laggards.
For example, Starboard estimated that Macy’s flagship Herald Square store in New York was worth roughly $4 billion and its Downtown Macy’s store was worth $3.4 million. These are among the crown jewels of Macy’s real estate holdings — and in some sense, Starboard was proposing pawning them.
The hedge fund suggested Macy’s could roll up its iconic properties and mall properties into separate joint ventures, which it could then co-own through an equity sale with a real estate partner. Macy’s would then lease back those properties from the joint ventures to itself so it could keep its stores in those locations. Down the road, Starboard suggested Macy’s could cash out of the joint ventures by putting them up for an IPO, reaping a windfall of cash for Starboard and other shareholders. To sweeten the deal for Macy’s, Starboard noted that the joint ventures — being real estate ventures capable of supporting higher levels of debt than retailers — could take on “substantial leverage” to the tune of $8 billion that could be used to pay off the debt on Macy’s the operating company.
Not a ‘fire sale’
There is a precedent for the kind of complicated financial engineering Starboard proposed.
In 2015, Sears sold more than 230 stores for $2.7 billion to a real estate investment trust (REIT) created for precisely that purpose. Called Seritage Growth Properties, the REIT is chaired by Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund mogul who is also Sears CEO and holds significant stakes in both Sears and Seritage. Canadian retail holdings company Hudson's Bay has also forked over properties to a joint venture created in tandem with Simon Property Group and Canadian REIT RioCan. The company's executive chairman said recently that Hudson's Bay moved too slowly in putting the joint venture up for an IPO, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.
Although shareholders have applauded some of these moves, not everyone thinks they represent sound business strategy. “Sears doesn’t really have an operating strategy,” Cohen said of perhaps the most prominent and controversial example of a retailer selling off its real estate assets. “They have an asset-stripping strategy. They are using their real estate portfolio to allow them to stay solvent… It is asset stripping at its ugliest and at its worse.”
About two months before Starboard's presentation, Macy's executives said they had examined the possibility of spinning off property into a real estate investment trust. They decided against it, based on the need for financial agility and the credit benefits of asset ownership to manage a changing, and worsening, retail sector. "We have lived through enough downturns and bankruptcies to know that there is a real benefit to the retailer of maintaining the flexibility of an investment grade rating and having access to capital in all markets, particularly when the industry is in flux," Karen Hoguet, Macy's chief financial officer, said in a November 2015 conference call, according to a Thomson Reuters transcript.
Instead of a wholesale — or, in Cohen’s words, a “fire sale” — sell-off of its properties, Macy's is going through its holdings, property by property, to evaluate the best strategy for each one. In the company’s own words from its most recent annual earnings report, the retailer “is focused on opportunities for sale transactions and, in some cases, redevelopment of assets. This strategy is multi-pronged and may include transactions, strategic alliances or other arrangements with mall developers or unrelated third parties.”
"I did my homework on the portfolio, and my reaction was: 'Wow, there is a treasure trove of real estate inside this retailer.'"
Macy's executive vice president of real estate
Doug Sesler, Macy's executive vice president of real estate, said at a June investor meeting that when he started at the company a little more than a year ago, "I did my homework on the portfolio, and my reaction was: 'Wow, there is a treasure trove of real estate inside this retailer.'" He said his team coined the term "value creation opportunities" for the various ways in which the company thought it could make good on its holdings, either by selling properties, selling parts of properties, redeveloping stores entirely or in part, adding wraparound developments that could be leased to other retailers, or by doing something as simple as building space for a Starbucks or a similar companion store in a Macy's parking lot.
Going by Sesler's strategy, Macy's might take a property like its flagship Herald Square store and instead of simply selling the coveted real estate, "densify" it by adding new retail around it and perhaps rooftop attractions as well, while retaining a Macy's presence at the site — and presumably retaining ownership, too, so Macy's could cash in on the rents from the new development.
Still cashing in
To be sure, Macy's has shown interest in making money from sales of its real estate as well.
Last year, the company sold its Brooklyn store for $270 million. This January, it sold its 248,000-square-foot Union Square Men’s building in San Francisco for $250 million, while retaining ownership of the site's main building. In February, it sold its downtown Minneapolis store property for $59 million. The company also recently inked a contract to sell two floors of its Seattle store, after selling four floors of the same eight-story building for $65 million in 2015, according to the Seattle Times. Altogether in 2016, Macy's made $673 million from sales of its real estate assets.
In January, the retailer also entered into a strategic alliance with Brookfield Asset Management that gives Brookfield the exclusive rights for up to two years to create a “pre-development plan” for any 50 of Macy’s real estate properties. According to filings with the Securities Exchange Commission, Macy’s has the option to contribute its asset into a joint venture or sell it to Brookfield outright for any property that the asset management firm draws up a plan for.
“What Macy’s seems to be doing is going through their portfolio one property at a time and determining what each property’s disposition ought to look like,” Cohen said. “Either leave it alone, close it, sell it, whatever. They’re not responding to this fire sale that these activists are really demanding. … [Macy’s is] intelligently examining their portfolio for properties that are not productive, in which they have excess space or that are just unsuccessful, and they’re getting rid of them.”
A missed opportunity
Macy’s big-ticket real estate transactions for coveted urban properties, such as the Brooklyn and Seattle stores, are only one piece of the puzzle. The company is also in the process of shuttering 100 stores across the U.S., some of which are owned properties. Those stores are being closed because they’re unproductive and many of them sit in malls with declining foot traffic. If Macy’s doesn’t see money-making potential in occupying those spaces, chances are that others won’t either — and it will only get worse as malls, apparel retailers and other department store chains retrench further. In other words, Macy’s might have already lost the opportunity to sell those properties.
"What’s happening is [Macy's] are just going to sit on it. It’s just not going to move... Now they’re left with a vacant building that they have to figure out how to get rid of, and there’s no market for it.”
Senior Director, Stan Johnson Co.
Retailers like Macy’s have “a limited staff and a lengthy decision process and that spells disaster in a retailer’s ability to be very nimble and flexible and be quick to market,” Herrold said. “I think if Macy’s would have really aggressively pursued this a couple years ago, they would have had more success. There wasn’t as much negativity in the department store industry.”
Instead, in Herrold’s view, Macy’s is left with real estate on its books that's at risk of obsolescence, when it could have sold off that risk. “Right now, Macy’s closes down a 150,000-, 200,000-square-foot building that they own and the prospects of selling or leasing that asset are remote,” he added.
While there are retailers that are expanding, including off-price stores such as T.J. Maxx and Ross that are stealing sales from department stores, those retailers often occupy smaller store spaces. Herrold noted there are other, less traditional tenants and buyers for those spaces — everything from fitness clubs to churches — but they generally don’t pay nearly as much in rent.
“The nature of the environment right now is that there are no users of that size that are growing aggressively and need that space. … What’s happening is [Macy's is] just going to sit on it. It’s just not going to move. Especially in the poorer retail locations, which is where they’re closing them. Now they’re left with a vacant building that they have to figure out how to get rid of, and there’s no market for it.”
In other words, if Macy’s wanted to make money from selling its properties — and it’s clear the company does, even if it has a different appetite for that than Starboard — the time to do it was before now. But that, ultimately, isn’t even Macy’s biggest challenge.
End of an era
The real estate markets for department store and mall properties are declining because department store and mall-based retail is declining. The value of Macy’s real estate holdings is inextricably tied to its core business. “The collapse of the mall business is in progress," Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International, told Retail Dive. "It’s been going on 25 years."
“It’s the end of the department store era,” Egelanian said. Off-price stores, discounters, big box retailers, Walmart, e-commerce retailers and more have cut into the business of department stores. Egelanian and others have pointed to Macy’s own dominance and scale as the cause of its undoing, as it expanded by rolling up smaller chains into its more corporate fold, effectively suffocating their local identities and relationships with their clientele.
Macy’s has tried to reinvent itself by investing in e-commerce, experimenting with its supply chain and last-mile delivery, and making store improvements. It has added personnel to its digital merchandising team and combined it with its in-store merchandising marketing team. More recently, in June Macy's executives said they were working to simplify pricing, refocus the company's marketing strategy and unroll a loyalty program that rewards customers for spending more at the company.
Selling properties can provide cash to help fuel those efforts — a luxury not all retailers have. But will it be enough?
“I don’t think they have any future,” Egelanian said of Macy's. “Monetizing real estate is a decent strategy, but it’s too little, too late."
Filed Under:Corporate News
Top image credit: Flickr- Li-Mette
295000 N Point Cir
SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO LET THE PEOPLE KNOW AND STAND UP FOR YOURSELF! In general, I like Macy's. They have some really nice clothing options and I appreciate the text alerts that let me know of sales and special promotions. This morning I received such an alert and decided that I would order a really cute cape since I will be traveling next weekend. Capes are perfect because you can easily layer under them without creating uncomfortable bulk and you can dress them up or down. They are the perfect travel companion and ideal for performance venues where seats tend to be narrow and space is limited. Since I needed to return an item to Macy's, I chose to pick up my item from the store rather than have it delivered. They have consolidated all services, (returns, on line purchases etc) in one area in the junior's department. When I walked in to pick up my item, it went very well. I simply showed my driver's license and they pulled my item. I left happy. However, later as I was playing with my garment, I noticed that they had actually given me the incorrect size. Curses!! I called and asked if they had the correct item available. I explicitly stated to Damien that I wanted to verify the garment and have it held in my name so that there would not be a problem and services could be expedited. Although I stated that I would pick up the garment tomorrow, I decided to just do it ASAP in order to get the issue resolved. When I arrive, I notice that my garment is not held at the desk as expected. I'm told that the items are actually pulled from the floor so I decide to save time and just look for myself. It is immediately clear that my item did not come from the floor because there are no capes only coats and jackets. When I return, the employee is on the phone with Damien who informs her that they do not have the cape. I inform her (nicely), that I will expect Macy's to reorder my item at their expense and have it expedited if necessary so that I can get it on time. When the manager Damien arrives I explain this to him and there is no problem. He agrees because in this situation, what I requested was reasonable since I had made two trips in one day and had been inconvenienced unnecessarily. The new item was ordered with the shipping waived and it should arrive on time. Crisis averted! *** The moral of the story is to make sure that you check the "sewn in" tag and not just the hanging tag. The hanging tag was not accurate and this is the tag they referenced when pulling the garment. ***If you request to have a garment pulled and held in your name, double check that this has been done prior to leaving for the store. Macy's, we are okay but I'm watching you! *** My cape arrived on time, (two days later). When there has been a mistake with your order, avoid going ballistic. Take a deep breath and decide what will make you whole or address the problem. Don't be afraid to ask for what you think is fair because a reasonable business will want to make sure that the customer is satisfied. As far as I am concerned, this was an ideal outcome.
I remember when this place was a Rich's (now may it RIP), and how cool the design was. It was one of the only places I had been (at a mall) with relief art work on all sides of the building. At the time, that was unheard of! And then, Rich's was bought by Macy's. Thankfully, little changed on the inside. I mean, this department store was the flagship store of North Point during the 1990's. I enjoy this place for a few reasons- it is always open later than most stores (for instance it is open until 1159PM the rest of the week!), and depending on what items you get, you can get same day delivery to your house- for a lot cheaper than next day shipping! This store is only 2 stories, which is nice- as some of the other locations have multiple stories, and finding shit can be a task- especially when 70% of the stuff is women's attire (which isn't bad, but I hate getting the dirty looks walking through women's sections at dept stores). So, for the most part, the top floor consists of Men's, Housewares, Kids, and overflow womens. There is also a Maternity section upstairs. Downstairs, houses the Jewelry, Women's, and I think Juniors. I have not been downstairs in ages, so I cannot confirm. I do like the atrium a lot, it is bright and open, with the 2 escalators overlooking the jewelry. A few things I would like to point out- here almost seems like a self serve type of thing. As for yesterday, I spent about 30 minutes just looking at cookware and electrics, and nobody offered me help. Now, for me, in this particular case- it does not bother me- as I have extensive knowledge in those areas. However, when that happens to me if I am trying to buy a suit or shoes, that can be highly annoying. So yes, it almost seems like here you have to be shark-like to get some help. But, during the holidays in a retail store like Macy's, I am a little more forgiving as I trust they are busy and the longer hours don't help the cause- I have been there, done that! Another thing I would like to point out, is that not all things you see on the website you can get in a store- so keep that in mind. It seems like the highest end of stuff is sold online only. I learned that with a few cookware and electronics brands. Also, the sales. Macy's ALWAYS has sales, and benefits for their credit card holders. However, their sales are sometimes just what other regular price items are at other retail stores. Just an example- Lets just say another retail brand store sells a set of knives for $300 all the time. Well, Macy's would sell the knives at 50% off a $640 retail and take another 5% off, just about keeping them around the same price. So, sometimes it is not always a sale, just a perception of how much you save. However, I did find a Martha Stewart 2qt cast iron dish yesterday with a $100 retail, that was 70% off (marked down to $30), and when I checked out, after taxes, it was only $13.54! Now that, is a good find! So, if you do enough hunting, you might be able to find a good deal. There are price checking stations throughout the store to assist you. I like the central location in the mall as well. I use it as a meeting point when meeting friends or family. I mean, why not? I might have to go back today just because. I will admit though to one downside, as of the changes with retail stores in general, the stock of items is not what it used to be. For instance, there is no more Big and Tall store here, which sucks, because I either have to go to Lenox, or shop elsewhere...
This is for the Bobbi Brown cosmetic counter at this location. I had come in looking for a nude color lipstick that I've been wearing for years. There was a very nice woman that was working behind the counter that day and she offered to help me. As I was getting ready to check out she curiously aske if that lip color was for me. I said "yes. I've been wearing it for years." She then asked if I would be interested in looking at another shade because she felt that the shade I was purchasing didn't suit me quite as much. To make a long story short, I ended up with a totally different color lipstick that I would of never in a million years bought. It was a coral peach with glitter. It's still close to my natural lip color but its got more peach to it. Apparently the one I was wearing had too much brown. At first I was unsure about all that glitter I mean its okay for Elton but for this Asian I'll look like a walking Puerto Rican Day parade. Well it turned out the glitter just subtle and made the lipstick look almost lip gloss but without it being a lip gloss.... I know if you're a guy reading this you lost interest at....cosmetic counter.... Thanks Macy's and Bobbi Brown's make up counter....I need all the help I can get.... 993rd review 12/14/2017
I've always loved shopping at Macy's because they carry just about everything one may need. I especially like their INC Department - that line is one of my favorite clothing lines because of its flawless cuts and designs, not to mention, colors that are bold and beautiful. One associate that I have to mention is Sheida in the INC department. I shop here a lot and I have never seen this woman without a big smile on her face. It's enlightening. She always greets me and does her very best to help me choose the perfect outfit. At the register she is always the one to remind me to use my Plenti points and ask if I have coupons (I always forget these things!). In one word, Sheida is remarkable. Macy's is lucky to have her onboard!
This store has disappointed me several times. Staff isn't helpful, clothes are very disorganized and most of all the store is filthy dirty.
So, in I go to the Macy's location in Alpharetta. Sorry to say that the store is a wreck, there is no one to help you, it is crazy hot, etc. You get the picture. I sign up for a Macy's card in order to get this discount and that discount. This was my mistake. The card arrives in a name other than mine. Not even close folks. I call Macy's and they agree. I am promised a new card in my actual name. We also agree that the payment clock starts when I get this new card. Fair enough right? Nope.....the collection calls have started. So, when the obituary of the likes of Macy's is written it will be termed a suicide and not homicide by the Amazon's of the universe.
I had been looking for a slim fit suit under $250 for quite a while and I found just that at this Macy's location. I enjoy shopping here because the associates are all very knowledgeable in their respective departments and also very understanding. They worked with my budget and seemed to be having fun helping me find the right suit. Ask for Shivkumar or Clayton! Of all the department stores at North Point Mall, Macy's easily takes the cake for quality, service, and pricing.
The lack of service in this store in absolutely unacceptable. I went to Macy's with the intention of purchasing some new bras. I was very excited to discover that the store had the bras on sale. Having had issues several times before with Macy's honoring coupons and with items ringing up under their sale prices, I did my homework. I read the sign very carefully and chose items that were clearly a part of the sale. I chose 6 bras , which would have been a $250 purchase. I waited in line at the intimates register for 10 minutes. I went to a different register and the lady looked at me and said "next." No greeting, nothing. I asked how she was and she said "fine." Of course my bras didn't ring up correctly. She begrudgingly went to the intimates section and came back telling me that I chose the wrong bras (I didn't!) and that I'd have to go wait in line at the intimates section to have them handle it. I told her to forget it and left without purchasing anything. I went directly to Dillard's and purchased my items. No wonder Macys is in such financial trouble. I'm sure in no time this location will be closed. It was proved to me today that they don't value me as a customer. I will NEVER step foot in another Macy's again.
What a great experience at mac cosmetics yesterday. I had a appointment at 3pm to get my makeup done for a wedding. You wouldn't know who you mua is until you have reached your appt time. I was truly blessed and happy :-) Brittany LeCesne was the mua that blessed me with her hands indeed. She was very informative , sweet, and knowledgeable. She made you feel at ease and she nailed the look I had in mind. Truly talented! Stop by, and ask for Brittany! You won't regret it ;-)
I was here a few minutes ago and trying to exchange my Super Star Adidas at Finish Line. The lady is fussing at me and saying that she is counting money and she can not help me. She told me to come back tomorrow, but I live an hour away. At the end, she finally said that she can return and can not exchange since they don't have the size i want ( she did not even go check).But i was there yesterday and the guy said that there are a few in the back. I am really disappointed that Macy's hire someone like her.
If I could give zero stars I would. HORRIBLE customer service in shoe department. Found sandals on the rack and stood in line at register for quite some time, long lines started to form with no one in sight to help. There was no price on them (not my fault) and she told me to go find another pair myself with a price. I didn't have anytime to go fishing through then stand back on line so I said well if you can't figure out the price then I don't want them. She said, "next" I turned around and said "great customer service!" And walked away. Bloomingdales is the only thing keeping Macys afloat.
One of my favorite places to shop if I'm trying to kill my lunch break. I really like their MK and CK collections here. Sometimes I would just find myself browsing around and a good bargain will pop up. There's this one really nice lady who seems to always be willing to scan a coupon for me if I ask if there's an event or sale going on. She's a petite lady with super short hair in front of the fitting rooms adjacent to the lingerie department and near the entrance to the mall. She's the sweetest! Sometimes I've found a few items that were cheaper at the register because the sales tag wasn't updated so just use the price checker to be super accurate. The store overall isn't too terribly messy, but I feel like they have more inventory on the floor than they can hold on the racks since the clothes are tightly packed together. The dressy rooms are clean on average. Some sales associates are friendlier than others, and it varies among the departments. Overall a pretty big Macy's with a good selection of sales and deals going on.
After the other reviews, I figure someone has to have something positive to say about this Macy's. Personally, I don't have much of an issue with the staff or the service I've received. I've gone in directly after work near closing time and was able to find someone to help me, and I've gone on a Sunday and again, was able to find someone to assist me. Im one of those people where I prefer not to be stalked all over the department store, nor do I want to be greeted 20 times in a less than an hour, so maybe that's part of the reason I enjoy this Macy's as I didn't experience any of that. I normally enter on the lower level that right outside of American Girl, it can be tricky to find a parking spot on this side, but I'm normally able to pull into a space just as someone is pulling out. Most recently, I purchased swimsuits and they had three people working in the area on a Saturday evening about 6pm, so I had no issue with finding someone to open a dressing room for me or ring up my purchases. IMO, their Rachel Roy department is better and more organized than the Lenox location. 88 of 100
If I could give Macy's shoe Dept a negative 5 I would. Under staffed, frazzled workers and just a mess. After standing for over 10 minutes waiting for help a frazzled manager sprinted off for what I thought was my shoes. Wrong!! She sprinted back by me and started picking up a table. Finally someone came up with no name tag on and a faded shirt and asked if I needed help. Who is this?? Does she work there?? Before I could answer she wanderer off to a register where a line quickly formed. I still have no shoes and left in frustration. -10. Won't waste my time again.
I took 2 items to the register in the Free People area, 1st floor. I had 2 coupons and asked the female employee to please use which one would benefit me most. Instead of figuring it out for me, she just used the $10 off coupon rather than the 20% off. Then she just threw the 2 items, which were wraps for formal gowns, in the smallest possible bag she could cram them in without even folding them. Once I left the register, I stopped at the next one in the ladies INC section, to ask the female employee there to please fix the sale for me because using the CORRECT coupon would save me $8 more. It took her a LONG time to even figure out that I had two items! Come on, this is Macy's! I would've expected much better service from them than that huge inconvenience of my time.
WORST SERVICE EVER! Went here to get a pair of Frye boots and Lucky Brand booties (which would have added up to about 450 dollars). Once I had picked out my boots, I went over to the area to get my size. Waited there for about 10 minutes, asking multiple people to help me, with all of them referring me to a different person. Finally just left because I realized I was going to get no service. ALSO, the whole store is just a mess so don't even try finding your size among the mountain of clothes left in corners. Not even worth a trip.
Super busy for a Saturday. Hands down the busiest store in the whole mall. Easy to shop. We visited the men's department (ties) and ladies shoes. My husband found a tie within 20 minutes and I had no luck with shoes. The checkout took us the longest. The men's checkout line was so long we waited until after checking out shoes. The ladies at the coach counter rang us but it took a long time for them to assist the two women ahead of us. Complicated return exchange situations. Not their fault I just wish there were either more registers OR easier POS processes to move the lines more quickly.
Thieves! I placed a order online and they told me my card was declined, when I called my bank they said there was no delination of the charge and it came out of my account on my debit card. When I called Macy's back and was transferred to 7 representatives and was finally told that it would be 7-10 days before I would get my money back. When I would not accpet that they continued to hang up on me.
Stopped by Macy's North Point women's dept on my way home from work yesterday to pick up a pair of pants. The parking lot was empty; the store was virtually empty. When I went to check out in women's, there was one customer ahead of me with a large order still switching out items for different colors. After the switching was done, she decided to open a new account. Of course, I got the customary "I'll be with you in a minute from the clerk" ... who was much more interested in her commission for opening up a new credit account than my wait time. So I tried a close by register in men's ... same situation ... one customer in the process of checking out who was opening a new account. I walked down to another register in men's, the clerk walked away from the register to look for an item, just as I walked up. I went back to the other register in men's where they were still going through items and opening the account. The women's register was still tied up with the account opening customer, too. Ultimately, I waited 20 minutes to check out in a store that was dead ... this was not a busy Saturday afternoon .. it was dinner hour on a weekday. When I finally got to the register I asked to see a manager. Damian came by with another manager about 5 minutes later. His colleague was kind enough to check out the man behind so he wouldn't have to wait ... where was she when I was waiting? I voiced my displeasure over the long wait time to Damian who apologized and said that the store was short staffed. I told him that I had just come from PetSmart who called for a back-up cashier when the customer in front of me had a question. I'm guessing that along with his colleague Damian (and all the other store managers) have had register training. It's too bad the store managers at Macy's North Point are too good to man the registers and back up the regular cashiers to eliminate long customer wait times. Macy's could learn a lot from stores like Pet Smart about good customer service!
I was in the women's department of the Macy's at north point today and want to give a shout out to the women who checked me out! I asked her name and of course I cannot remember it now but it was about 12:45pm, I think her name was Amelia or Amanda? Anyway...she was so helpful, caring and professional. A women asked her a quick question to find the petite department and she took a few seconds to direct her but didn't take a moment away from me. She was so professional and I just wanted to recognize her! Sorry, I still can't remember her name , forgetfulness just comes with age!