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Incoming CEO has vision for Macy's: Retail expert Jan Kniffen

Jeff Gennette is the right pick to succeed Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren, retail consultant Jan Kniffen said Thursday.

Macy's announced earlier in the day that Lundgren would be stepping down as CEO next year and Gennette, who is currently president, will assume the position during the first quarter.

"Jeff's got a vision for what they're going to do going forward," Kniffen said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"Jeff is going to be great. I think the world is going to be happy about it."

Gennette was widely expected to succeed Lundgren, who has been CEO since 2003. Lundgren, 64, will continue as executive chairman.

Macy's has had a difficult time in recent years as consumers shifted their spending toward experiences versus apparel. During the first quarter, sales at the company's stores that had been open at least a year fell 5.6 percent. That was the steepest decline in its same-store sales since second quarter 2009.

Kniffen, also a CNBC contributor, said despite those turbulent times, Lundgren has had a "darn great run."

He turned Macy's, which was then Federated, into a "national department store with omnichannel retailing in an environment that was virtually impossible, in a dying industry," he said. "That was an enormous job, and I think he did a fabulous job."

Oliver Chen, senior retail analyst and managing director with Cowen and Company, said Gennette needs to make changes to get in line with the generational change in attitudes about shopping.

For one, there is more work to be done on the off-price frontier, which is attractive to younger customers, said Chen, who has a "hold" rating and $35 price target on Macy's.

Gennette also needs to look at supply-chain innovation and speeding up the time between ordering and putting merchandise on shelves, as well as bringing new excitement to the store, he added.

"The stores need to get fun again. They need to get exciting again for young people — health and wellness, exercise, health care," Chen told "Power Lunch."

"That is where department stores need to head if they want to be relevant for the long term," he said.

CNBC's Krystina Gustafson contributed to this report.