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News Updates: September 2005

All updates from the month of September 2005 are listed below.

Marshall Field's name to become history
Written by Justin on September 21,  2005 at 3:19PM
  • As if the cuts mentioned below were not enough, at least we're not Chicago.
  • The biggest news in this round of changes is that Marshall Field's will be changing their name along with all of May's other chains. Unlike most of May's other department store, Marshall Field's is likely the best-known regional department store. Federated had reportedly considered keeping the name of the chain for quite a while, but has now announced the final decision. Marshall Field's flagship store, located on State Street in Chicago, is particularly well-known as a Chicago emblem and is the second largest department store in the country, following, of course, Macy's flagship store in New York City.
  • While most in Detroit, Minneapolis, and the rest of the Midwest could care less, this change has Chicagoland in fury. Stories are online at the Chicago Tribune (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-050920fields-story,1,3255062.story), (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-050920shopper-story,1,6960789.story?coll=chi-news-hed), (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-0509210141sep21,1,4917188.story?coll=chi-news-hed), along with a great media section at the Tribune's main page (http://www.chicagotribune.com). The Chicago Sun-Times also has quite a few stories on their main page (http://www.suntimes.com), but the best two are probably (http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-fields21.html) and (http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-reax21.html).
  • It's a tale of two polls. Federated likes to claim that their name changes at Rich's, Burdine's, Bon-Marche, Goldsmiths and Lazarus were made as the result of polls which said that consumers found that "66% of customers have neutral to positive feelings toward a name change, 89% of customers see Macy's as more fashionable or see no difference, and 71% say they are neutral or more likely to shop at Macy's than Marshall Field's". In contrast, the Chicago Tribune has an online poll about the name change, in which 90.1% of respondents feel that a name change will make a difference to them, and 96.6% of respondents who are not in support of the name change say that they will shop at Macy's less. Is the research real? Well, would the customers of five unique department stores all just happen to want to want the stores to change their names to Macy's? Like Bob's Discount Furniture, "I doubt it".
  • What's Chicago's firebrand mayor, Richard Daley, saying about the merger? Actually, very little. The CEO of Federated Department Stores, Terry Lundgren, met with the mayor to discuss the change. When Lundgren mentioned that he will look into bringing Frango Mint production back to Chicago, Daley became very optimistic. So, in order to bring back the approximately 157 jobs for the Frango Mint factory, Daley ain't talking.
Federated announces more local changes
Written by Justin on September 21,  2005 at 2:42PM
  • In a press release yesterday, Federated announced that more changes would be underway for the Boston area.
  • First, it has been announced that the Downtown Crossing store which serves as the flagship for the Filene's department store chain will be closing. The combined company decided that it would be less expensive to keep a long-term lease on the old Jordan Marsh store which currently serves as Macy's than to relocate the Macy's store to the Filene's building, which is currently owned by Federated. Federated is looking to sell this building. Not to worry, Filene's Basement will remain in it's flagship location, although there will need to be entrance modifications when Filene's closes.
  • The upper floors of the Filene's building in Downtown Crossing house the regional headquarters for both Filene's and Kaufmann's, a May chain originating from Pittsburgh which lost it's headquarters a few years ago. Now, in a previously unannounced cut, Federated will be closing the Boston regional headquarters, as there will no longer be any Filene's or Kaufmann's stores to run. The Boston Globe reports that 1,100 jobs are expected to be cut. Federated is also closing most of May's regional offices, specifically the locations in Los Angeles, CA; Arlington, VA; and Houston, TX.
  • Finally, the Filene's store at The Mall at Chestnut Hill will be closing and will be replaced with a new Bloomingdales store. In case you were wondering, yes, there is already a Bloomingdales at that mall. The old Bloomingdales store will close and the building will be sold.
  • The Boston Globe has these local issues online at http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=103526.
Natick Mall breaks ground on expansion
Written by Justin on September 4,  2005 at 11:12PM
  • In a ceremony held in a white tent on top of Parking Garage B, General Growth Properties, along with 100 invited guests, celebrated the groundbreaking of the new expansion. The process started for GGP in 2001, and even with the groundbreaking, the mall will not open until 2007, with the condominiums following a year or two after that.
  • The project is clearly very important to GGP. In fact, GGP's president, Bob Michaels, flew in from Chicago to take in the ceremony. This is largely based on the fact that the Natick Mall will be something never tried before; being a luxury mall with attached condos. The mall is now set to house Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, 4 restaurants, and about 100 other stores. The MWDN reports on the groundbreaking at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=107483.
Federated drops appeal of Natick Mall
Written by Justin on September 4, 2005 at 11:04PM
  • Federated has dropped their appeal of the Natick Mall's Expansion. Apparently, the Massachusetts Attorney General required for Federated to drop the appeal of the mall, allowing competition from Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, and also close of the company's stores at the mall in order for the Federated-May merger to be approved. The announcement comes as the mall begins construction on the new expansion. The Boston Business Journal reports on the move at http://boston.bizjournals.com/boston/stories/2005/08/29/daily31.html.

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