Activist investor Jana Partners has taken an undisclosed stake in Macy’s and is prodding the department store chain to separate its ecommerce business from its brick-and-mortar operations.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Jana Partners sent a letter to the Macy’s board urging it to split off its fast-growing, nearly $8.5 billion annual online business. In a presentation earlier this month, Jana Partners said a Macy’s ecommerce standalone could be worth as much as $14 billion. Macy’s total current market value is around $6.9 billion.
Like many brick-and-mortar retailers, Macy’s online sales grew while physical store operations took a beating last year when the pandemic caused some temporary store closures.
Sources told WSJ the Macy’s online spinoff has already drawn interest from investment firms. Macy’s also owns luxury retailer Bloomingdale’s.
A Macy’s ecommerce split would mirror the actions of rival Saks Fifth Avenue, which revealed plans in March 2021 to split off its ecommerce business. The online Saks business is valued at $6 billion, with an initial public offering planned for the first half of 2022.
Saks said customers would not recognize any changes with the brand, as they can still use Saks credit cards online and in stores and pick up online purchases at Saks locations.