• Retail Dive

Macy's buys Story concept

Dive Brief:
  • Macy's has bought the New York City-based store concept Story for an undisclosed amount, according to a press release.

  • As part of the deal, Rachel Shechtman, Story's founder and CEO, is joining Macy's as "brand experience officer," reporting directly to Hal Lawton. Macy's said in the release that Shechtman "will focus on ways to enhance the in-store customer experience with the Macy's brand" in her new role, while Story would "have the opportunity to come to life in a new format."

  • Schechtman said in a statement that the Macy's acquisition would give Story a "national stage" to "create impact at scale." It would also give her "the opportunity to further build new customer experiences across the Macy's portfolio," she said.

Dive Insight:

In buying Story, Macy's isn't just buying an interesting retail concept — it's also acquiring an executive who can help propel its store experience initiatives, similarly to how Walmart bought an e-commerce innovator in Marc Lore through its acquisition of Jet.

Shechtman, who launched the retail consultancy Cube Ventures in 2003 and founded Story in 2011, has created one of the most innovative store concepts around. The Manhattan boutique, as a matter of routine, shakes up its merchandise and design every four to eight weeks to fit a particular theme.

"Just as a magazine tells stories with words and pictures, we do so with merchandise and events," Story's editorial director told Retail Dive in 2015. "So the thought process is similar to how an editor lays out pieces in a magazine. We choose the merchandise and layer it into the context that we've created for the issue — from 'Good' or 'Love' to 'Color'— and then find ways to tell the brand's story through a mix of in-store content and relevant adjacencies."

The concept store has partnered with major brands, retailers and other companies to merchandise its space and host events around a theme. Among the companies, which pay sponsorship fees, are Target, Benjamin Moore, Yahoo, Nickelodeon, General Electric, Coty and others.

Macy's said that Story's Chelsea location would continue operating as normal. The concept's chief operating officer Jenny Shechtman is set to become a vice president for Story's operations for Macy's.

With new talent, and a unique concept to build on, the question will be whether the Story team can indeed scale their ideas and energy across a legacy department store format in an era when customer experience is a much-talked about imperative for retailers.

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