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Macys Finally Opens: Set To Stand Apart From Other Department Stores
by LUCIENNE GIGANTE
October 19, 2000
Next week, Macys opens its doors in Puerto Rico.
Oct. 25 marks the grand opening of the three-level 255,000-square-foot store at Plaza Las Americas. Macys first store on the island an investment of $50 million expects rough competition from Sears and JCPenney. For years, the two department stores dominated the local market by being more upscale than sister stores on the mainland.
"We think P.R. will be a terrific place to do business," Peter Sachse, vice chairman and director of Macys East told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS in an exclusive interview. "Weve studied the market quite hardfrom clothing to lipstick colorcoming here off and on for the last three years as a merchandising group to try to understand the local tastes and what we need to do differently."
In a market where Sears carries high-end cosmetics such as Chanelunheard of in mainland Sears storesMacys had to apply creative concepts and offer more exclusive lines, some of them first-timers in P.R. "Our merchandize will be much more dissimilar [from] our major competitors on the island," he said. "[We] will be similar to other Macys, but obviously take into account the difference in climate."
"We created terrific cosmetics and fragrance department stores with brands that you cannot not find in many of the local stores," he said. The Macys cosmetics department will carry brands such as MAC, Bobbi Brown, Interface, Bourjois, Origins, Hard Candy, and Interface.
The fragrance department will use an assisted-sell method, featuring an open area for customers to "pick, play, and grab". "[The fragrances and cosmetics departments] will be very innovative, fresh, and new not only from a brand standpoint but from the way we merchandise and sell," he said. The juniors, jewelry, and womens footwear departments also will be innovative, Sachse added.
"But most exciting, we will bring a lot of exclusive merchandise from our own private labels to ready-to-wear apparel," he continued. Federated Department Stores private labels include I.N.C., Style & Co., Club Room, and Alfani. Other brands available at Macys will include DKNY, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Jones, New York, and BCBG.
Practice makes perfect
Asked how Macys adapted to the local market, he said, "Weve studied very hard what we bought [for the local store]. A lot of it is with the silhouettes, the colors we chose, short sleeve vs. long sleeve," he said. "But we also have a very large Puerto Rican customer base in New York."
"But quite honestly we need everybodys input. As good as we think weve been, our customer will tell us very quickly what we did right and wrong and we will react just as quickly to that."
The company had a Puerto Rican vendor fair six months ago where local major manufacturers presented their products, he added.
Macys has had its eye on Puerto Rico for some time. "Federated and Plaza Las Americas has had conversations for years," he said. "We currently dont have any plans [to expand], although you never know what the future holds. We know the market much better than we used to." Sachse continued, "Today, we are focused on opening Plazas store and meeting the needs of our Puerto Rican customers. When we have accomplished that, then we will consider other plans."
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.