Holiday Central

Macy's CEO Lundgren: Optimistic About Holiday Sales


Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren told me that thinks that holiday sales will be 'great' this year. Back-to-school went well, he says, and he expects customers to be hungry for new clothes and fashion by the time the Spring runway looks (showing now) make it to the racks.

I chatted with the mastermind behind the new Macy's (Lundgren, of course, engineered the massive Federated-May merger) at the Tommy Hilfiger show today. Unfortunately our conversation was cut short before I got to ask him whether Macy's will be able to repeat August's great +2.4 % comp this month and whether the rumored KKR buyoutdried up along with the liquidity crisis.

Judging by the rosy picture he painted of how good sales are this fall, I would take that as an indication that Macy's may see a September upside surprise. That or the very media savvy Lundgren may simply be exuding optimism for the public eye.

In Lundgren's view (he and his wife attended a number of Fashion week shows), New York Fashion week was a bit rushed and rough. (The Macy's exec said this before the Hilfiger runway show began and it was not his reaction to that collection.) Designers felt rushed and put product that was not fully finished onto the runway this season, in Lundgren's view. Why? He says that the calendar shift of runway shows beginning two days earlier than they usually do (to accommodate the Rosh Hashanah holiday starting on the 12th) cut back on the designers' prep time.

While I'm not sure that the loss of two days truly makes that big of a visual difference in the product on the runway, there was a feeling that many of the fashion shows were a bit hodgepodge this year. Lundgren dismissed the idea that there is a lack of excitement about the fashion cycle. Typically a major fashion shift is a good thing for retailers since shoppers hit the stores to snatch up the gotta have items.

Lundgren says that the return to classics (which includes pieces that many already have in their closets) is not going to discourage shoppers from buying. which has not shifted as radically as it has in years past. Regardless, he said, Macy's can backfill by ordering inventory mid-season to fill in the 'holes' in the store stockpile. Inventory management is the buzz phrase of late.

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