Chris Hondros / Getty Images
A shopper exits Macy's department store in New York City. Macy's plans a $400 million facelift for its flagship store on Herald Square.
Shoe fanatics, get your credit cards ready.
The retail chain Macy’s announced on Tuesday that it would invest $400 million in a large-scale renovation of its flagship Herald Square store in New York City that will be home to the world’s largest women’s shoe department.
Upgrades to the Herald Square store will begin in the spring of 2012, and will include the conversion into selling space of some 100,000 square feet of office and storage space, a facelift of the store’s exterior, and new “hall of luxury brands” consisting of the expansion of luxury shops like Louis Vuitton into two- and three-floor stores. Macy’s says the store’s doors will remain open as renovations are underway, and the completion of the entire project is expected in the fall of 2015.
The real draw for shoppers could be plans for a refurbished footwear department. Macy’s will create what it claims will be the world’s largest women’s shoe department, containing a whopping 39,000 square feet of selling space that would house as many as 300,000 pairs of shoes on a given day. Oh, and there will also be “an all-new concept for a coffee/wine/chocolate bar” (they probably could have stopped at just shoes and chocolate to draw in the hordes, but who’s counting?)
Men won’t be left out of the equation. The selling space for men’s merchandise will also expand to cover 200,000 square feet.
In addition, technology and new media are on the menu for the store’s upgrade. Macy’s says it will stream live video feeds of store events from around the world and will add interactive store directories, an “enhanced shoe locator system” and a mobile app to guide shoppers while inside the store.
Such a hefty investment into the expansion of a retail space could be a gamble in a down economy. But recent reports have shown that consumer spending is bouncing back — sales at chain stores including retailers like Macy’s and Kohl’s increased by 4.7 percent during October, an improvement over the 1.6% increase in October of 2010, as reported by Reuters.
And some reports indicate that while shoppers are cutting back on basics in the face of recession, they’re treating themselves to moderate indulgences like shoes and bags instead.
Indeed, Macy’s, which earned $25 billion in sales in the fiscal year of 2010, said that the remodel of its Herald Square location, which first opened in 1902, would generate more customer traffic and sales volume. “Our upcoming top-to-bottom remodel represents an investment in the future growth of our business as New York City continues to evolve as a world capital and shopping destination," said Macy’s chairman, president and CEO Terry J. Lundgren in a statement.