Macy’s is doubling down at the Walden Galleria. That is good news for Western New York.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are powerfully disrupted these days, under assault by new digital competitors. Macy’s has closed more than 100 stores nationwide in roughly three years, including anchor stores at the McKinley and Eastern Hills malls, a Home store at McKinley Mall and Macy’s Men’s store at Boulevard Mall.
The closures are part of a restructuring plan that calls for multimillion-dollar annual savings, part of which can then be spent on growth initiatives. The Macy’s Galleria store is one of 100 chosen for investment.
The store will receive physical upgrades, expanded product offerings and added customer service staff. The revamped store will get a beauty “playground,” new flooring, fitting rooms, LED lighting and restrooms. New technology will help customers “place” Macy’s furniture in their homes through visual reality.
Backstage, a Macy’s off-price business that competes with TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack, will debut. Fifty Macy’s stores received the same treatment last year.
The digital-driven retail disruption seems to be following a familiar, Darwinian pattern. When digital upstarts assault old-line businesses, weaker players fail while the leaders survive and sometimes even thrive.
The Galleria is an important piece of the Buffalo economy. It is a big attraction for Canadian visitors. It draws shoppers from the broader Western New York region.
The Macy’s investment sends a good message about the Buffalo region.