Macy’s Acquires Story, the Experience-Oriented Retailer

Macy’s has acquired Story, the much-buzzed-about New York City boutique that calls itself a “living magazine” that rotates its merchandise and format every four to eight weeks.

Macy’s did not disclose terms of the acquisition.

Rachel Shechtman, Story’s founder and CEO, will join Macy’s as brand experience officer, reporting to Macy’s president Hal Lawton. In her new role, she will work on enhancing the Macy’s in-store experience.

Story will continue to operate its 2,000-square-foot location on 10th Avenue. But according to Business of Fashion, the plan is to launch Story as a sub-brand, possibly within select Macy’s stores.

“I’m highly interested in trying to bottle what I see at Story into many stores that have thousands of people walking through them every single day and are just ready to be turned on,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told the publication.

“Brick-and-mortar for us has been tough,” he added. “The need to change brick-and-mortar to make it more experienced-based is a high priority.”

Founded in 2011, Story immediately gained notice for its ever-changing format designed to keep customers coming back. Each “story” is build around a theme; past themes have included LoveNew YorkColor, and Remember When.

The store’s creativity extends not just to the shape-shifting format, but in the often-surprising ways it executes its themes. For instance, as part of the current theme, Work/Space, the store is letting customers sign up for free private office space at the store.

The retail space also frequently hosts events that tie into the themes—for the New York story, it hosted a live story slam.

Story not only makes money by selling items, but by working with companies to sponsor the stories. One notable sponsor was one of Macy’s department store rivals, Target.

Shechtman is no stranger to the jewelry industry. In 2014, she spoke to the Women’s Jewelry Association, and this January, she presented the Jewelers of America GEM Award for Retail Innovation.

The acquisition is another example of legacy retailers buying talked-about up-and-comers considered fresh and innovative. Since 2016, Walmart has bought Jet and Bonobos, Hudson’s Bay bought Gilt Groupe, and Signet bought James Allen.

Pam Danziger, founder of Unity Marketing and veteran luxury analyst, tells JCK the purchase has potential but also risks pitfalls, comparing it to Macy’s’ purchase of Bluemercury in 2015.

“In that acquisition, Macy’s had a wonderful opportunity to transform the Macy’s beauty department into something totally new and different,” she said. “But I haven’t seen Macy’s realize that potential as yet, so I wonder will it let Rachel do it with Story.”

Photo courtesy of Victoria Gomelsky

JCK News Director

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