With more shopping shifting to mobile devices, is the in-store shopping experience under threat?
Black Friday brick and mortar sales showing signs of waning amid more shoppers using tablets and smartphones, but Macy's Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren has a different take. Like the rumored demise of Mark Twain, Lundgren thinks the perceived death of the department store "is a statement that's been grossly exaggerated."
In an interview with CNBC's "On the Money," Lundgren pointed to the moment when Macy's opened for business on Thanksgiving night at the retailers' midtown Manhattan flagship store.
"If you saw the traffic when we opened the doors at 6 pm, flowing into stores like Macy's Herald Square, you'd say people definitely want to shop on that night and in a store like Macy's," he said. "So we feel great about what's transpired here."
Nevertheless, online buying is clearly on the rise as many consumers seek to avoid the stampede of bargain-hungry shoppers—some of whom turn notoriously unruly. According to the Adobe Digital Index, which tracks retail websites found on Thanksgiving Day, online sales totaled one billion dollars. That figure is up 22 percent from last year.
Still, the Macy's CEO said his company is well positioned in both camps, online, and in-store.
"We are the seventh-largest internet company retailer in America, " Lundgren told CNBC. "The online business is a complete strength for Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com."
Still, he added the way consumers are shopping is "quite different than it was even five years ago."
"Consumers are starting the journey with their phone, doing their research," Lundgren explained, "then they come into the store to "try on the clothes, or touch that handbag, or have makeup applied, all those things that are more tactile."
Next, Lundgren says, shoppers "might buy it in the store or they'll buy it at Macys.com or Blooomingdales.com. That's what's changed."
He added: "the consumer likes that multi-dimensional experience today more so than ever. I think stores that are strong online, and strong in-store will be the winners of retail in the future."