RealTime IT News

Macys.com Becomes Separate Unit of Federated

Federated Department Stores Inc. in Cincinnati said it is establishing Macys.com as a separate, free-standing subsidiary of the corporation.

Federated said it is the nation's first traditional department store retailer to create a separate subsidiary dedicated to capitalizing on Internet commerce opportunities.

Based in San Francisco, Macys.com is headed by president Kent Anderson, a veteran Macy's West executive who had been spearheading Macys.com under the Macy's West division umbrella. Macys.Com was launched in early 1996 as an informational site, and began experimenting with online selling later that year.

"The Internet--much like our global mail-order catalog businesses--represents a strategically important complement to our department stores in an era when convenience is becoming a more important component of the value equation for customers," said James M. Zimmerman, Federated chairman and chief executive officer.

"While the sales volume for department-store type goods on the Internet is relatively small today, we believe it is a phenomenon that will continue to grow," he said. "Federated's investment in this new venture will well-position us to capitalize on the growth of e-commerce in the years ahead."

Zimmerman said Macys.Com will also be used for testing new concepts within Federated's private brands, building interactive relationships with customers and attracting consumers who live in areas not served by our stores."

Anderson said that the new Macys.com site, expected to be launched in October, will focus on creating a true cyber-shopping experience for the customer, with more than 250,000 items available for purchase in a cyber environment that mirrors the department store in merchandise presentations and product offerings.

Sales volume on the existing Macys.Com site has been growing steadily over the past 18 months, with minimal marketing and promotional support to date, the company said.

Macys.Com is expected to partner with IBM, with which the company is negotiating to host the Internet site, support systems development and provide guidance on electronic commerce issues; and Left Field, a San Francisco-based advertising and Internet marketing firm.

Federated's department stores operate nationally under the names Bloomingdale's, The Bon Marche, Burdines, Goldsmith's, Lazarus, Macy's, Rich's and Stern's.