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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"Give the lady what she wants." - Marshall Field

It's Official. Federated Department Stores is the Devil...Federated Department Stores announced this morning that all of it's May Company acquisitions will be renamed Macy's. We already knew that our store was going to be included in the name change, but were holding out hope for Marshall Field's. Today Federated has announced that even the flagship store on State St would change to Macy's. Many of you are not familiar with the Marshall Field's legacy. I invite you to check out the State Street store's website. Field's has been a Chicago institution for more than 150 years. Their State Street store encompasses an entire city block and has 10 floors and more than 800,000 square feet of world class shopping.

Field's has always been innovative in the retail world. The flagship store is a destination for people from several states and always a first stop for native Chicagoans visiting home. It is the only department store in the country that you can find designs by Thomas Pink, Yves Saint Laurent, Whittard of Chelsea, and Thomas O'Brien...to name a few. They brought to America the world-famous Vertical Catwalk. Click here for pictures from their Fall '05 'Runway' Show.

The early response from Chicago and here has been one of great dismay. Shoppers were greeted at the State Street doors this morning by associates telling them of the name change. Many visitors expressed their displeasure...others simply walked away. The Chicago Tribune has it as breaking news on their website and people are being very vocal in the disappointment.
I just spoke, by phone, with an associate at the State Street store that said people have already started calling and coming into the store to cancel their charge accounts. Comments have been nearly all negative:

  • I'll never shop at Macy's. Even if it used to be Marshall Field.
  • This is insanity! I lived in Chicago for years and Field's is a legend. An icon. We have Macy's here but, to paraphrase a great line, I know Marshall Field's and Macy's is NO Marshall Field's. Tradition, trust and strong identity are what get and keep customers. Federated has it ALL wrong!
  • I'm a Marshall Field frequent shopper. I will never buy anything from Macy's. Ever. They have no respect for Chicago.
  • Field's=Chicago - Macy's=New York. Leave it that way.
While some of these comments do seem very reactionary, I agree with most of them. I will be a Federated employee soon. (Or I already am, they don't tell us these things.) Field's on State has always been my favorite place to shop. Regardless of what Federated wants, the Field's name is probably here to stay, anyway. Two days after the May-Federated merger, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks formally recommended that the City Council bestow landmark status to the retailer's flagship store at State and Washington Streets. This would mean that Federated would have to "maintain the building appearance as similar as it's original intent". Basically, it might say Macy's on the bag, but to all that pass it will still say

"Give the lady what she wants." - Marshall Field. This lady wants to shop at Field's...how about that?


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