Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Feb 18, 2012


Macys has a blog on their web page, http://www.macys.com/
Tom Van Riper, Forbes.com, identified this week five retailers struggling and fighting the good fight to stay alive. Here are a few of the highlights from the article:
"As retailers crawl out of the worst recession in decades, many realize that they overbuilt and have too many stores. Declining sales have forced several chains to pare down their number of outlets and, in some cases, file for bankruptcy.U.S. chains announced roughly 3,000 store closings in 2011, down from the 5,000-plus announced in 2010, according to Retail Traffic, a trade publication that tracks retail real-estate trends. One result is that the nation's malls and shopping centers are reporting near-record vacancy rates as anchor tenants retrench.

Sears (SHLD), the nation's biggest seller of household appliances, is struggling. Department store chains like Macy's (M) and J.C. Penney (JCP) are treading water, while apparel retailers like Gap (GPS) and Talbots (TLB) have fallen victim to changing fashion preference

And while the job market is improving and consumer credit is easier to get, a renewed spike in store closings can't be ruled out in 2012, according to Retail Traffic. Especially vulnerable are consumer electronics chains, which are under intense price pressure from Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and don't have many hot new products coming to market. Meantime, store openings will likely come from discounters like Family Dollar Stores (FDO), Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Wal-Mart.”

They said NO SALES...looks like a sale to me!!

By now you should know that I am fascinated with fashion retail and being a part of a healthy, productive conversation to help retailers stay alive.

So, I ask…..if you were to open your own department store, what would it look like?? How would it be different? How would you “fashion” it to survive?


Let's give them some advice....you are a perfect focus group!!


  1. The majority of the fashions would be basics and maybe 25% would be trends.

  2. Yes to what boopnut said! Also, many people don't realize that stores are willing to call another store if they don't have your size. I don't know if shuttling items between stores is too expensive for them, but they could promote these services that they offer so that more customers would use them. I also think they should give out contact information/referrals for tailoring services in the area.

    The bottom line is: even though part of the problem is that they are forced to keep so much merchandise on the floor, it still just so often happens that they don't have the sizes/colors etc. that you want. With online shopping, that makes it hard to compete. More individualized service may be one answer.

  3. I wouldn't want to own one, for sure! But that said, I do empathize with the need to be "all things to all shoppers". I agree with Anne that better service would keep me coming back (I think Macy's does this pretty well). I also like it when the big stores have clearly delineated "boutiques"; that takes some of the big box feel out of it. Oh, and good restrooms!

  4. I miss the old style department stores, where the women's rooms were lounges and one could have lunch in a tea room. I think I'm lucky to be old enough to remember them. I'm not sure that department stores will survive as more and more of our shopping moves online. One of the unspoken problems with malls has to do with overdevelopment not on the part of these retailers, but on the part of real estate. They are victimized by the same practices that have resulted in so many foreclosures for homeowners. I also wonder what percentage of a price point is due to advertising...

    I would love to see a mall where a number of thrift stores were gathered together in one spot, but I do worry that without retailers my thrift store pickings would be slim.

  5. As a plus size gal--more choices size 14 and over. Guess what retailers--we are 50% of the population and we buy clothes. It's depressing to go into some stores and find little if any plus sizes.
    I think Lane Bryant kinda went off the rails when they started catering to the teeny bopper set. Their clothes became too "trendy in a too youthful way) Plus sizes want fashionable items designed with their bodies in mind. Not just whatevers in Forever 21 in a larger size.

  6. I'd carry items in petite and misses from the same lines so women who're petite in one area but misses sized in another could mix and match.

    I'd also go with value pricing. I'd like shoppers to come to my store to buy what they need/want, not to buy what's cheapest.

    I would also have someone to straighted the racks and tend to the dressing rooms so the stock stays available for the next customer and the dressing rooms don't look like some teenaged girls' closet.

  7. Darling Pam!!!!

    Well, that is a hard question in light of the economy because I would have DECADENT THINGS! But....people still want beauty. I am barely learning how to make my Etsy shop appealing to reach those customers that want beauty and whimsy on a budget. It is challenging, but fun.

    AND THANK YOU SO MUCH for coming to visit. YES, PROVERBS 31 is sheer poetry, DIVINE inspiration and really the only way to be a woman, any century. Being ourselves and not letting culture or industry define us.

    YOU ARE YOU and terrific!!! Anita

  8. I would have a much smaller bricks and mortar store, with lots of variety in garments/designs, but just one of each size. Huge lounge/dressing room areas where you enjoy great coffee and such which you try everything on, then point and click to order and have your choice delivered to your home. No lugging everything around the mall. Make it a destination, a place to hang out and visit with friends while looking at all the styles. Oh, and I'd have swatch books with different fabric choices, which could be made up in the styles you choose. Oh, and one of those rooms where you stand in and get a body scan and then the size is even customized to your body.

    1. I REALLY like all these ideas Glenda! I hope this is the direction retail stores go!

  9. What I miss is assistance when I shop - our Macy's lacks in the help area. I would love to have someone help me find clothes that would look the best on me without being pushy and sell-y about it.

    And, this is just me, but I would like there to be more clothes in longer lengths. Some shops have a tall woman's line - Banana Republic and J Jill, for example - but I would love it if some of the designer labeled jeans, like J Brand, made 36" and 37" inseams.

  10. First of all I would have an area that stocked all of the discontinued perfume, makeup and bath products I miss. In addition, favorite sweaters, shoes, handbags, etc. that I loved, but can no longer find a replacement or similar style. Oh, you didn't say a "Fantasy Department Store".....sorry! We can only dream.......

    All of the postings are great ideas; very smart readers. For me, service, service, service.....would be the building block for a successful operation. I would add to that carefully selected merchandise in a store that is not too big.....there is a tendency to just fill it up with "stuff' which dilutes the merchandise mix. Just MHO...

  11. I just wanted to say I have been following your blog for a bit now and I absolute love it and your wonderful personality that flows through this blog. Thanks for all the wonderful topics and you always look stunning. Thanks,


Thanks so much for joining in our conversation today! I appreciate your time and love hearing from you!