Macy's 'Reimagining' Private Brand Strategy

The department store retailer is moving forward with a plan to update its assortment of own-branded products.
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor
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Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette
Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette.

Macy’s has long been known for its broad selection of private brand products most notably in the areas of apparel and home and housewares.

As the department store retailer looks to enhance its customer engagement and grow market share, it is in the early stages of reimagining its private brand portfolio, according to Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chairman and CEO. 

In a recent conference call to announce first quarter results, Gennette said Macy’s is realigning its private brand team under new leadership in partnership with its broader merchandising and sourcing teams.

“Our goal is to have a private brand portfolio that is differentiated, defendable and durable,” he said. “Our team is developing original designs and distinctive brand identities, values and principles that foster brand love. This, along with a modernized size and fit approach will empower our customers to own their personal style.” 

In March, Macy’s announced the hiring of Emily Erusha-Hilleque as its senior vice president of Private Brands. She will lead the retailer's private brands design organization, including apparel, center core and home design teams as well as drive the private brands strategy in partnership with Macy’s merchandising and sourcing teams. According to the retailer, Macy’s owns 20 private brands, including mostly clothing and home goods lines.

Erusha-Hilleque joined Macy’s from Target Corporation, where she most recently served as the design director of ready-to-wear, young contemporary private label and design partnerships. 

Gennette noted Macy’s is using customer data and analytics to ensure the retailer offers products that have “the right value equation and competitive pricing architecture.”

While declining to offer additional specifics, he noted Macy’s is considering all avenues, including the launch of new brands along with refreshing current brands. Additional details will be made public in the coming weeks, Gennette added.

The refocus on private brands follows Macy’s continued rebound. In the first quarter ended April 30, net sales were $5.3 billion, a 13.6% year-over-year increase. Comparable owned plus license sales increased 12.4% and average unit retail was up approximately 8%. The retailer’s adjusted diluted earnings per share was $1.08 for the quarter, up from $0.39 in the comparable quarter the prior year.