Originally Posted by E.L. Lynch
Damn, man. I didn't think that list would ever end. And I'm sure you could add many more.
It's far from complete since I didn't include the tangled history surrounding the Jewish takeover of Macy's and a large number of other American department stores:
Macy's was founded by Rowland Hussey Macy, who between 1843 and 1855 opened four retail dry goods stores, including the original Macy's store in downtown Haverhill, Massachusetts, established in 1851. They all failed, but he learned from his mistakes. Macy moved to New York City in 1858 and established a new store named "R. H. Macy & Co." Ownership of the company was passed down through the Macy family until 1895, when the company, now called "R. H. Macy & Co.", was acquired by Isidor Straus
and his brother Nathan Straus
. Straus and his brothers sold crockery to R.H. Macy & Company department store. The brothers became partners in Macy's in 1888 and co-owners in 1896.
In 1893, he and Isidor bought out Joseph Wechsler from the Abraham and Wechsler dry goods store in Brooklyn, New York, which they renamed Abraham & Straus
Abraham & Straus (or A&S) was a major New York City department store, based in Brooklyn. Founded in 1865, in 1929, it became part of Federated Department Stores
, which eliminated the A&S brand shortly after its 1994 acquisition of R.H. Macy & Company. Most A&S stores took the Macy's name, although a few became part of Stern's, another Federated division that offered lower-end goods than did Macy's or A&S.
Federated Department Stores
was founded in 1929 in Columbus, Ohio. Federated was originally a department store holding company for Abraham & Straus, F&R Lazarus & Company
(including its Cincinnati division, then known as Shillito's
) and William Filene's Sons
of Boston. Bloomingdale Brothers
joined the organization in 1930. Federated moved its corporate offices to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1945.
Over the next few decades, Federated expanded nationwide, adding Rike Kumler
of Dayton, Ohio (merged into Shillito's
in the 1980s to become Shillito-Rike's
of Miami, Florida; Rich's
of Atlanta, Georgia; Foley's
of Houston, Texas; Sanger Brothers
and A. Harris
, both of Dallas, Texas (which was merged with Sanger Brothers to form Sanger-Harris
); Boston Store
of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; MainStreet
of Chicago, Illinois; Bullock's
, of Los Angeles; I. Magnin
, of San Francisco, California; Gold Circle
; and Richway Discount
Department Stores of Worthington, Ohio. In 1982, Federated acquired the Twin Fair, Inc.
discount store chain based in Buffalo, New York and merged it with Gold Circle.
Federated was the successor to the Lazarus
operation begun in Columbus, Ohio, in 1851. Lazarus family members served in prominent positions within Federated through the 1980s. In the mid-1930s, a modern merchandising standard was set when Fred Lazarus (son of Simon) arranged garments in groups of a single size with a range of style, color and price in that size, rather than the other way around. Lazarus based this technique upon observations made in Paris. Fred Lazarus Jr. also convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt that changing the Thanksgiving holiday from the last Thursday of November to the fourth Thursday, extending the Christmas shopping season, would be good for the nation's business. An Act of Congress perpetuated the arrangement in 1941. After this date "Black Friday" became a nationwide sensation, becoming the most profitable day for Federated nationally. Other companies tried to follow suit but failed to achieve what John Albert Macy had in mind. Various Lazarus family members also held key positions on Federated's board and within its various divisions—namely, Foley's, Filene's, Lazarus and Shillito's. As of January, 2002, Robert Lazarus Jr. was the only family member still with an official role at Federated, serving as assistant to Ron Klein, then chairman and CEO of the Rich's/Lazarus/Goldsmith's
operating unit of Federated, now Macy's South.
To support its huge retail operations, Federated centralized its back-office functions into several large divisions, covering financial services, marketing, merchandising, logistics, and data processing systems. Other retailers' branded credit cards are usually issued and serviced by a third-party bank; Federated was so huge that it ran its own private bank, FDS Bank, which for many years issued and maintained the majority of its own consumer credit card portfolio with a portion at one time owned by General Electric Credit Corporation, an arrangement inherited from when R.H. Macy & Company sold their credit portfolio in an attempt to prevent filing for bankruptcy. In 2005 Federated finalized an arrangement with CitiGroup to sell its consumer credit portfolio, reissuing its cards under the Federated-CitiGroup Alliance name Department Stores National Bank (DSNB) and allowing Federated to continue servicing the credit accounts from its Financial, Administrative and Credit Services Group (Macy's Credit and Customer Services)
In 1990, Federated—now under the control of Robert Campeau—went bankrupt after its hostile takeover of Allied Stores; it emerged from bankruptcy after the ouster of Campeau in 1992 as a new public company. Federated then took over Macy's in 1994 while that company was still emerging from its own bankruptcy in 1992. Federated entered e-commerce late, in 1998. FDS Bank was one of the last credit card banks to begin to allow its cardholders to access account information online (around 2004). The department store chain Stern's, a division of Federated, ceased operations in 2001 and most of its stores became Macy's stores. In 2003, Federated changed the nameplates of all their non-Macy's stores, except Bloomingdale's, to include the Macy's name. The rebranding process was referred internally to as Project Hyphen. Under the plan, Seattle-based The Bon Marche
in Tennessee became Goldsmith's-Macy's
; Lazarus, Burdines
, and Rich's
also added "-Macy's" to their name. A year later, the original hyphenated names were dropped in favor of just Macy's, a rebranding process referred internally to as Project Star.
Federated settled an SEC investigation for $14.46 million in 1998 due to unethical debt-collection practices. Federated routinely forced credit card holders/debtors to sign an agreement that legally bound them to repay their outstanding balances instead of having the unsecured debt discharge via the filing of bankruptcy. Federated failed to file reaffirmation agreements with bankruptcy courts. As a result, the changes in the agreements were not legally binding.
On July 18, 2005, Federated Department Stores announced that they would acquire May Department Stores
company for $11 billion in cash and stock. Also part of the buyout was the bridal and formal unit of May, consisting of David's Bridal
and After Hours Formalwear
. Federated would also assume $6 billion of May's debt, bringing total consideration to $17 billion. The deal would create the nation's largest department store chain with over 1,000 stores and $30 billion in annual sales. To help finance the deal, Federated agreed to sell its combined proprietary credit card business (but still administered by FACS Group, a subsidiary of Federated) to Citigroup. The merger was completed on August 30, 2005, after an assurance agreement was reached with the State Attorneys General of New York, California, Massachusetts, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Federated announced plans to sell 80 store locations in 2006, having pledged in its settlement to sell most of them as viable businesses, with preference being given to a group of thirteen competitors. This number could fluctuate pursuant to Federated's negotiations with various mall landlords and its final decision regarding using former Macy locations for its luxury Bloomingdale's
On January 12, 2006, Federated announced its plans to divest May Company's Lord & Taylor
division (55 stores in 12 states) by the end of 2006 after concluding that chain did not fit with their strategic focus for building the Macy's and Bloomingdale's national brands. On June 22, 2006, Macy's announced that NRDC Equity Partners, LLC would purchase Lord & Taylor for US$1.2 billion, and completed the sale in October 2006.
On September 9, 2006, May Company division stores Famous-Barr
, Filene's, Foley's
(the prior two were former Federated stores in their own right), Hecht's
, The Jones Store, L. S. Ayres, Marshall Field's, Meier & Frank, Robinsons-May
, and Strawbridge's
brands ceased to exist as Federated replaced most of them with the Macy's masthead, and a select few converting to the Bloomingdale's brand. The conversion of Marshall Field's in Chicago has been particularly criticized, with many customers boycotting the State Street store and staying away from the emporium. The Chicago Tribune continues to report on the poor reception of Macy's in Chicago. Kaufmann's
in Pittsburgh also had a dislike to the change most due to the concern of the local parade run by the store. Other stores like Famous-Barr in St. Louis also disliked the change, but not nearly as much as Marshall Field's.
One of the consequences of this rebranding is that over 80 U.S. malls now have two Macy's department stores. In Downtown Boston, Federated liquidated an acquired Filene's
because it already had a Macy's (formerly a Jordan Marsh
) across the street. The two stores have a combined floorspace of more than 1,400,000 square feet (130,000 m2), more than two-thirds the size of Macy's New York City flagship store.
On November 17, 2006, the bridal and formal unit was sold. David's Bridal and Priscilla of Boston were sold to Leonard Green & Partners. After Hours Formalwear was sold to Men's Wearhouse
On February 27, 2007, Federated announced that its board of directors would ask shareholders to change the company's name to Macy's Group, Inc. By March 28, the company revised its plans for the new name, opting to eventually become Macy's, Inc. Federated shareholders approved the revised proposal during the company's annual meeting on May 18, 2007.The company was previously known as Federated Retail Holdings, Inc.