Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Price of Failure

You had your chance, Macy Headquarters in Minneapolis. Turn things around, increase sales, prove your usefulness. And what happens? Sales fall in the North Sector. You're fired.

As Terry Lundgren continues to re-invent the department store, customers continue to stay away from Macy's. Particularly in Chicago, where Marshall Field and Company once held sway, holiday sales did not meet expectations. Someone has to be made to pay for this fiasco, and it won't be the man who eliminated the Field's name and earned the disdain of loyal Chicago shoppers. Better by far to get rid of the people in Minneapolis.

The wine shops are to be shuttered, along with the food courts. Without people to buy the items, there's no point in paying folks to stand around not selling. Better altogether to have only as many sales staff as sales income can pay for. Sales go down, so staffing must follow.

All those former Field's employees who make big salaries are being enticed to leave. Chances are, they're pining for the good old days and not promoting Macy's as the department store of the future. In a further effort to cut costs, Macy's has shut down the stores where sales are so dismal that there's no point in opening the doors any more. Consolidate departments. Cut costs. Slash. Burn. How better to build a national brand?

At this rate, there will be no employees on the sales floor and Macy's few remaining stores will be entirely self-service. Is this Mr. Lundgren's notion of the department store of the future?

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