Macy’s keeps changing direction and now has no real core vision. First, they were buying regional department stores to  become the “national” department store. They did a good job of choosing successful regional department stores. However, they then centralized policies and procedures negating those that made the regional stores successful. For example, brands of products were changed, when the previous assortment was what the local customers wanted. They changed return policies when the customers like the ones the regional stores had. Then they wondered why they were not as successful as the local stores had been.

Then when the elimination of coupons, like at JCP, was a failure and other stores, like Kohls, began offering more coupons, Macy’s changed course. Macy’s customers received a lot of coupons, even more coupons if you spent more money. However, when checking out you could only use one coupon, even when you had a fistful. Now I think you can use three at a time. How frustrated are customers when they are shopping, have been sent lots of coupons, and can not use them? Good policies do not frustrate customers.

Now that sales are still low Macy’s is going to experiment with putting off-price Backstage stores in about 45 of their current stores. So now customers can go to Macy’s and buy regular high end items and off-price items. So who is the store? What does the brand represent?

Why not figure out what policies and procedures customers want (remembering that you now need to serve Millennials and Baby Boomers). Then create a vision that allows you to grow with customers as they change while maintaining your core mission.

Right now the core Macy’s brand changes in my mind with each new tactic and that is not a good policy.