Friday, January 08, 2016

1588 Macy's

1588 Macy’s

Macy’s probably is the country’s most recognized store of its kind.  And when it announced it was closing 40 of its 770 branches and cutting 3% of its workforce on one of the worst trading days in recent memory, its stock price was one of the few that rose.

It wasn’t much of a rise, about 2%. But by that logic, it could have boosted its stock higher by firing a larger percentage of its employees.

And to continue that train of thought, it could have made a killing by simply closing all of its stores.

Such is the logic of Wall Street.

Macy’s is your old Aunt.  Someone you rarely think about and rarely call or visit, but always is kind of hovering in the margins of your life.

Macy’s is the can of soup that’s been in your kitchen cabinet since the Bronze Age, the one you stumble over when you’re cleaning and decide to cook only to discover it expired before Ronald Reagan was sworn in for his second term.

Macy’s is the largest snail mail spammer that pours a cascade of confusing coupons into your mailbox and your life each month.  And like that can of soup, many of them expire before you can figure out how to use them.  Or whether to.

They had a lousy 2015 winter season this year.  As did most everyone who tries to sell anything from a physical building and in person.  Hence, the closings.

Actually, there are two kinds of Macy’s: the Miracle on 34th Street and all the rest.  The “main” store is a tourist attraction in the heart of midtown Manhattan where crowds gather, where everything sparkles, where the best merchandise and the most of it is placed.  You know.  Thanksgiving Day parade. July 4th fireworks.

In most of the rest you can bowl in the aisles without fear of injuring yourself or anyone else.

The magic doesn’t carry into the rest of the country from that “main” location.

Why is main in quotes?  Because the headquarters is misplaced in Cincinnati.  You can run almost any kind of a national anything from anywhere in the midwest. But not something so New York as Macy’s.

Why is it in Cincinnati? Because that’s where Federated Department Stores comes from. Federated bought the chain years ago and tried to figure out what to do with it.  They’re still working on that one.

No dissing of the Midwest meant here.  But you can’t run a mid-price NYC department store from anywhere else in the world but NYC.  

That concept works in reverse too.  The Cadillac division of General Motors wrote its own obituary when it moved its headquarters but not its factories out of greater Detroit and into lower Manhattan. It’s just a matter of time.

And look what happened to the New York Jets when they moved to New Jersey. Almost the same with the New York Giants.

--Anyone catch Obama’s town hall meeting on guns last night?  If you didn’t here’s the essence:  “I’m spending my final year in office going door to door across this great land of ours and personally confiscating all your guns while Joe Biden handles the day to day chores at the White House.”


-The President also said “Michelle doesn’t want me to leave Biden at the White House because he snores and tosses around a lot in his sleep.”

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®  
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© WJR 2016

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