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In a sign that Macy’s may be realizing that its massive, mall-based operation isn’t working so well anymore — if it ever did — the department store last week said that it’s speeding up the development of a fleet of small-format stores located away from traditional enclosed malls.

The company has a mix of banners slated for strip centers, including hyperlocal Market by Macy’s, stand-alone off-price Backstage stores, Bloomie’s and Bloomingdale’s the Outlet; in at least one case, Market by Macy’s and Backstage will share space. Some analysts see this as sensible, given the diminishing returns of the mall-anchor approach.

COVID-19 caused marketing campaigns to be exclusively online. Now, as customers begin to go back in-store, other challenges arise.

“It’s positive in that this is the right move for any flagship, to move away from being an anchor store and open up smaller concepts that have a curated product assortment localized with the consumer in mind,” Liza Amlani, principal and co-founder of Retail Strategy Group, said by phone. “So, I’d like to see them actually do that.”


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