Federated said Thursday that beginning in February, it will rename its 28 Rich’s stores Rich’s-Macy’s, close seven Macy’s stores in the Atlanta area, converting two of them into Bloomingdale’s and a third to a furniture gallery.
This marks Bloomingdale’s entry into the Atlanta market, with the division moving into the region’s top malls — Lenox Square and Perimeter Mall — and taking a total of 500,000 square feet of gross retail space. Bloomingdale’s expects to have the stores open for business by next fall.
"This is a very overstored market," said Terry Lundgren, president of Federated. "There has been more retail proliferation here than just about any other city in the country. The market needs to be rationalized."
Lundgren also said it’s an opportunity to capitalize on the Macy’s name, among the most highly recognized department store brands, and roll out and advertise Federated’s "reinvent" strategy geared to make shopping easier. The strategy involves renovations, automated price-check devices and shopping carriers, enhanced fitting room environments with lounges and bigger, easier-to- read signs and directories.
The move raises speculation that Federated will one day completely phase out Rich’s, and possibly its other regional nameplates: the Miami-based Burdines and Seattle-based Bon Marche divisions, as well as the Lazarus and Goldsmith’s stores in the Midwest and South, which are operated by Rich’s. In Florida, Federated also operates Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, while The Bon is the sole Federated business in the Northwest.
Over the years, Federated has converted Abraham & Straus, Bullock’s, Stern’s and Bamberger’s primarily to Macy’s, and in a handful of locations to Bloomingdale’s. Regional headquarters were eliminated along with the nameplates.
In the case of the $2.4 billion Rich’s, Federated officials gave assurances that the name won’t disappear and that the chain will continue to be run by the Rich’s team at Rich’s Atlanta headquarters. However, it’s possible that in the future, Federated will change its mind.