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Where Have Macy’s Shoppers Gone?

Executive Summary

Macy’s is the US department store market leader, but the company has experienced falling sales and consequent loss of market share in recent years. To find out where those shopper dollars have gone, we surveyed US consumers and asked those respondents who said that they shop less for apparel at Macy’s than they used to which retailers they have switched their apparel spending to.

  • Amazon is frequently cited as the cause of sales declines at department stores, but much less than half of the consumers we surveyed who had switched some or all of their apparel spending away from Macy’s redirected that spending to Amazon.
  • J.Maxx/Marshalls, Target, Kohl’s and Walmart have gained meaningfully as consumers have transferred their apparel spending away from Macy’s, according to our survey.
  • The prominence of value retailers as switching destinations indicates that shoppers have downgraded apparel as a spending priority. Fully 37.5% of US consumers we surveyed agreed that clothing is now less of a spending priority for them than it was about three years ago.
  • Amazon Prime membership represents a big divide in terms of what retailers shoppers transfer apparel spending to when they switch from Macy’s. Among respondents who spend less on apparel at Macy’s than they used to, 53% of Prime members said they have switched spending to Amazon versus just 22% of those who are not Prime.

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