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Macy’s Plans Online Marketplace Launch for 2022, Reconsiders 60 Store Closures

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Macy’s is continuing its omnichannel evolution with the launch of a curated digital marketplace for both its flagship brand and Bloomingdale’s slated to open in the second half of 2022. Additionally, the retailer will adjust its 125 planned closings for 2023 by closing an additional 10 stores in January 2022, but taking a second look at another 60 that were intended to go dark.

The marketplace will expand the range of products carried by Macy’s and introduce new categories for the retailer on both macys.com and bloomingdales.com. The platform will be powered by enterprise marketplace technology provider Mirakl, which will help sellers monitor, drive and grow their businesses while remaining within Macy’s curated parameters.

“Our digital business is targeted to generate $10 billion in sales by 2023, and we expect the new marketplace platform to produce incremental revenue on top of that target,” said Matt Baer, Chief Digital and Customer Officer at Macy’s in a statement. “The marketplace platform will enable us to expand our assortment at a low incremental cost while giving Macy’s customers easy access to even more product selection to meet their diverse needs.”

The change in closure plans goes hand in hand with the retailer’s expanded digital presence. Macy’s Chief Financial Officer Adrian Mitchell noted that “digital performance is stronger in markets where we have stores” during an earnings call, which is why the retailer may delay the closure of some stores even as it puts other locations on the chopping block.

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The retailer’s downsizing effort may help it focus on off-mall and small-format locations while it continues to close mall-based anchor stores. The newer concept stores have exceeded the company’s expectations, and Mitchell sees a “clear path” for Macy’s off-mall efforts.

Additionally, Macy’s is under pressure to spin off its ecommerce business after activist investor Jana Partners took a stake in the company. Jana Partners said a Macy’s ecommerce standalone could be worth as much as $14 billion, compared to the company’s current $6.9 billion valuation.

Other recent digital upgrades include Macy’s Live sessions, where shoppers can connect with the retailer’s Stylists in an interactive chat environment for detailed product descriptions, real-time reviews and recommendations, and an updated mobile app with easier navigation, improved curation and personalized recommendations.

Macy’s is on an upward trajectory despite the store closures and pressure to spin off its ecommerce business. For Q3 2021, the retailer reported an owned-store comparable sales increase of 35.6% compared to 2020, and 8.7% compared to Q3 2019. Digital sales were up 19% from 2020 and 49% from 2019, and the brand attracted 4.4 million new customers during the quarter.

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