Field’s name to Macy’s and facing the start of the critical holiday
shopping season, Federated Department Stores Inc. Chairman and Chief
Executive Terry Lundgren acknowledged Monday that winning over
Chicagoans may be more difficult than originally anticipated.
"I’ve been here a lot because I know
we have more work to do," Lundgren said in a speech Monday evening to
the Turnaround Management Association at the Standard Club in downtown
Lundgren, who visited Macy’s State Street flagship earlier in the day,
added that other markets in which the local department store chain’s
name was changed to Macy’s have been "much easier to break into."
Federated purchased Field’s from former parent May Department
Stores Co. for $11 billion last year and converted about a dozen
regional department store chains across the country to Macy’s in
September, doubling the number of Macy’s nationwide to more than 800.
In a wide-ranging talk, Lundgren spoke of the "risky" but
necessary decision to create one national department store brand name. But it was a risk Federated had no choice but to take, Lundgren said. "The regional department store chain had to change, it just had to," he said. "It was losing market share at every turn."
In response to a question from the audience, Lundgren recounted
the day he came to Chicago last year to announce that Field’s would be
changed to Macy’s, saying it took an emotional toll on him. "The [media] just hammered me all day long," he said.
Lundgren said he looked for ways to keep the Field’s name but
decided it couldn’t be done and still accomplish his goal of creating a
viable national department store with the economies of scale to save
costs on merchandise, TV advertising and even shopping bags.
"We looked at the Field’s brand, we kept on thinking it through,"
said Lundgren. "[But] ultimately we decided we cannot expand the
Marshall Field’s brand." Talking to reporters after the speech,
Lundgren declined to characterize the sales trend at former Field’s
stores, saying only, "It’s a marathon."