The department store space has been a tough place to be for the past decade, as supercenters, off-price and outlet stores, along with the convenience of online shopping, have eroded its market share. According to a recent report by IBISWorld, revenue in this sector is expected to decline 4.4 percent in 2015.
That's on top of a 5 percent drop in 2014, and a 6 percent decline in 2013. Revenue growth has been negative for department stores since 2002, when it was flat, according to IBISWorld's data.
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Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, said department stores' market share has dropped to just 1.9 percent—down from 5 percent in 2000, and 12 percent in the 1980s.
"Of the 30-year time span, the biggest share gainers over the first two decades were Wal-Mart and Target; and over the most recent 10 years, the biggest share gainers by sector were warehouse/clubs (notably Costco), the off-pricers (TJX [and] Ross) and the dollar stores," Johnson said in an email.
Macy's has been actively looking for ways to jump-start its growth. In February, the company said it would acquire Bluemercury, a beauty retailer, for $210 million. It is also testing stores in the off-price market, with plans for six locations in the metropolitan New York City area.
And earlier this month, Macy's signed an agreement with Men's Wearhouse to operate shop-in-shops in 300 of its stores, as it tries to capture a greater portion of the wedding market.
"We see weddings and special occasions as strategic growth opportunities for Macy's," its chief merchandising officer, Tim Baxter, said at the time.
Speculation has also been swirling that Macy's will follow in the footsteps of Sears and Hudson's Bay by utilizing a real estate investment trust. Macy's owned about half of its 800-plus stores at the end of January, with Trussell estimating the company's real estate value at $11 billion.
Though Trussell admits such a move could "drive significant value" for the company's shares, he said in his view, a deal is unlikely. He added that the stock's valuation "already bakes in the real estate value."
Trussell has a $63 price target on the retailer, down from $71.