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Old January 23rd, 2005, 03:41 AM   #1
edsg25
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Marshall Field's: if it's dropped, how will we react

what if the worse case scenerio happened: Macy's acquires Marshall Field from May and puts up a Macy sign...not only at Oakbrook, Old Orchard, and Woodfield...but right there at Water Tower Place and (gasp!): STATE STREET?

Look, I know department stores ain't what they used to be, that the traditional department store is a dinosaur, and that nobody is going to put up any more enclosed malls with 4 department stores and 150 other stores.

And I also realize that Marshall Field's suburban stores are, in many ways, totally interchangable with Bloomingdale's, with Carsons, with almost all the faceless suburban mall stores.

But Chicago itself, Chicago proper, State Street: that's another issue. Years ago, when still locally owned, Marshall Field's used a "Marshall Field's Is Chicago" ad campaign. It was true then and it still has enough elements of truth today.

I realize that a lot of local dept. store chains have bitten the dust. I realize that the name change has been going on for ages when stores are acquired or reorganized (and I realize that there were lots of unhappy folks in the Twin Cities and Detroit when the name "Marshall Field's" went up on Dayton and Hudson stores.

But Chicago, with all its might and all its attachment to Marshall Field's, may be a whole other ball game.

So what will happen if the name comes off? I suspect, little in Skokie, Northbrook, Vernon Hills, et al. But in the city? I suspect: PLENTY. Marshall Field's put a fortune into the State Street anchor. And it is the one store in the whole Chicago area that real love draws people to it (Carsons on State would be second in this regard). Field's is selling more than merchandise on State; it is selling itself.

And if Macy's or others think that that world of Frango's, of the Walnut Room and its tree, of themed windows on State, of green bags, and all the other pieces that make Marshall Field's Marshall Field's will be the same without the name, I suspect they will be sadly disappointed.

How do you see the reaction in Chicago if such a name change takes place?
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 04:03 AM   #2
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May owns Carson's so if Federated aquired it either Carsons would remain as Carson's or it would be renamed Macy's, which would mean Marshall Fields were also renamed Macy's that there would be two Macys' on state street. So if federated does rename both Carson's and Marshallfield's then there would be 2 Macy's on state street, that would most likely mean they would close either the Marshall field's store or the Louis Sullivan carson's store on state street.

BUT I Think that if Federated did aquire May they would only rename Carson's Macy's because not much tradition, history, and chicago fame is attached with that name. Bottom line the name Marshall Field's won't get dropped, only Carsons will.
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 06:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirdCoast312
May owns Carson's so if Federated aquired it either Carsons would remain as Carson's or it would be renamed Macy's, which would mean Marshall Fields were also renamed Macy's that there would be two Macys' on state street. So if federated does rename both Carson's and Marshallfield's then there would be 2 Macy's on state street, that would most likely mean they would close either the Marshall field's store or the Louis Sullivan carson's store on state street.

BUT I Think that if Federated did aquire May they would only rename Carson's Macy's because not much tradition, history, and chicago fame is attached with that name. Bottom line the name Marshall Field's won't get dropped, only Carsons will.
unless i was wrong, i thought that Saks owned Carsons.
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 06:46 AM   #4
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Sak's does own Carsons, along with Parisian, Proffitts, Bergners, Boston Store, and Herbergers.
As for the Marshall Fields (MF) name... While Federated has changed stores like "The Bon Marche" in Seattle to Macy's, as well as others like Lazarus, Burdines, Rich's, and Goldsmiths, They have also been smart enough to keep the Boomingdales name. I think that if a sale were to go through, a smart move would be to change the names of the MF stores in locations of less historical importance (Detroit, Minneapolis, former Dayton Hudson stores, etc..) to Macy's and keep key MF locations as MF. They could keep a stratigic number of MF stores, and perhaps add a few new ones to key markets, and keep the MF name and history intact. Afterall, there are only about 30 Bloomingdales, and outside of New York, they tend to be only in upscale malls and cities. They could change the Lord and Taylor on Michigan Ave to Macy's? Or... Maybe they could lease some of the vast empty space in Chicago Place or 900 N Michigan...

Something tells me that if they were to change the State Street store to Macy's, Chicagoans simply wouldn't tolorate that, and sales would suffer to the point store closure. Think about it, If May Co bought out Federated (just a what if, I know it's not possible), how would it would to have Marshall Fields on 34th St at Herald Square? Do you honestly believe New Yorkers would support that?
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 10:56 AM   #5
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Marshall Fields is not gonna change names. Whoever purchases it will only want to capitalize on Chicago's loyalty to Marshall Field's. Macy's can open up its own store on State or Michigan. They would be foolish to rename Marshall Fields though. Its a damn institution, and therefor a cash cow, in Chicagoland. They can rename it in the rest of the midwest, and even in some suburban locations, but the two inside city limits arent changing names anytime soon. The State Street store, in particular, is going to last forever, come hell or high water. :P
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 01:27 PM   #6
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I think if and when Federated buys May (which is still not a certainty, the most possible options are that either Marshall Field's, Lord & Taylor, or both name plates will be dropped. With the company streamlining its department store base to upscale (Bloomingdale's), medium (Macy's), I feel there's room for medium-upscale (like Nordstrom) in Federated. With Lord & Taylor closing a bunch of stores, this could be a good opportunity for more new Marshall Field's stores and converts. The overlap of Federated and May stores could present this as an oppurtinity to keep the company diverse, and yet still streamlined. Lord & Taylor has a lot less name caché than in areas where there's a Marshall Field's as well, and mall owners will be more supportive of closing less stores as well.
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 04:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InTheLoop
Think about it, If May Co bought out Federated (just a what if, I know it's not possible), how would it would to have Marshall Fields on 34th St at Herald Square? Do you honestly believe New Yorkers would support that?
Absolutely right and great point. Only two department stores in the nation are icons in combining store image and the building itself: Macy's at Hearld Sq and Field's on State. Nothing compares. Bloomingdale's Manhattan flagship truly earned its reputation far later than Fields or Macy's; it wasn't until it became the ultimate of cutting edge, trendy New York, sometime in the 70's, that it started to become high profile. Meanwhile, the store building is just that; a building...not the massive institution that the Macy's and Field's flagships are.

Tampering with suburban mall stores is one thing, but two icons like those? never!
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 04:13 PM   #8
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I see a real danger that all conglomorate department store chains face when they try to homogenize their stores coast to coast, often under the same name.

the golden era of department stores is LONG gone, and will never come back. the options for specialized shopping is just too great. C&B kicks Field's ass in house wears, Nordstrom outdoes them in shoes, and Harry & David has better food.

So what's left for department stores? What keeps them in the game? What do they offer better than anyone else? Tradition. An instiutional quality. A connection with community. An ability to promote and set an image unlike other more specialized stores. A store you want to enter for experience as well as merchandise.

If you cut all local ties, slap the same name on each, make them warhouses for merchandise, suck the personality out of them, what is the reason to want to go into them and shop.....especially when the range of merchandise in any given department is far less than a store that specializes in it?
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 07:33 PM   #9
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They wouldn't do it. The stores would become carbon copies of Macy's stores, but the name and other marketing would remain Marshall Field's. There's just no economic sense in destroying the goodwill and brand recognition that they have.

This has happened dozens of times, btw. For example, Carson Pirie Scott and Boston Store are the same thing, just with different names.
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 08:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chi-town
They wouldn't do it. The stores would become carbon copies of Macy's stores, but the name and other marketing would remain Marshall Field's. There's just no economic sense in destroying the goodwill and brand recognition that they have.

This has happened dozens of times, btw. For example, Carson Pirie Scott and Boston Store are the same thing, just with different names.
from what i understand, the parallel for Federated in its Macy's stores is different from the BostonStore/CPS organization or the former Fields/Dayton/Hudson setup.

Keeping the stores under one name (Macy's) was supposed to have an effect on advertising and wholesale purchasing. It's a policy Federted has pretty well employed to drive its middle-to-upper-middle range dept. stores consolidated under the Macy's name. I believe there is a commitment on Federated's part to make all their dept. stores either Macy's or Bloomingdale's. In California, a number of other chains have been converted to Bloomie's in SF and LA. In Chicago, with 4 Bloomingdale's in place and no reason to expect more, there would be a lot of reason for them to want the Field's stores to have the Macy name. I do, however, think they will experience much more pressure here to prevent that from happening than in other cities.
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 09:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rivernorth
Marshall Fields is not gonna change names. Whoever purchases it will only want to capitalize on Chicago's loyalty to Marshall Field's. Macy's can open up its own store on State or Michigan. They would be foolish to rename Marshall Fields though. Its a damn institution, and therefor a cash cow, in Chicagoland. They can rename it in the rest of the midwest, and even in some suburban locations, but the two inside city limits arent changing names anytime soon. The State Street store, in particular, is going to last forever, come hell or high water. :P
Agreed 100%.
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