What do you do when your business falls upon hard times? Shut down and rebrand, if you’re taking a page out of Macy’s handbook that is. When it comes to the venerable giant and its traditional approach to the retail of apparel, handbags, and home good items, Macy’s is leaving its tried and true department store identity behind in favor of a new partnership with Best Buy.
No longer will you only be able to buy boots and bedding at Macy’s — now you’ll also find consumer electronics in their stores. By combining forces, these two storefronts hope that they’ll somehow find a way to remain relevant in an age driven increasingly by e-commerce and free two-day shipping.
Beginning in early November, around 10 Macy’s stores across the U.S. will “test licensed consumer electronics departments under the Best Buy name,” effectively creating mini-Best Buy locations within the department store. So now, in a sea of cardigans and pumps, you’ll be able to find phones, tablets, wearables, audio gear, and other such electronic devices you’d typically find, well, not at Macy’s. While it’s yet unclear what other brands will be offered, Samsung is a sure bet, and it seems pretty safe to assume that other labels will be appearing inside Macy’s stores as well.
The move comes as Macy’s battles declining sales as more and more consumers pivot towards gadgets and gizmos. And as the Wall Street Journal reports, Macy’s “has come under pressure from investors to make better use of its real estate,” leading to the shuttering of 35 to 40 stores, representing about 5 percent of their total locations.
But with this new Best Buy partnership, Macy’s hopes that it can begin to compete again with other retailers and offer customers more of what they want in addition to their traditional stock of goods. “Our customers have expressed interest in electronics for self-purchase and gift-giving, and this collaboration with Best Buy reinforces Macy’s as a shopping destination throughout the year for the products that are most in demand,” said Macy’s president Jeff Gennette in a statement.
And if there’s one thing that retail understands, it’s that the customer is always right.