Macy’s rolling out discount stores

Don't Waste Your Money

Macy’s is not your grandmother’s department store anymore.  It is going discount in a growing number of its mall stores.

The discount-retail format that Macy’s created to compete against the likes of TJ Maxx, Home Goods,  and Nordstrom Rack is being rapidly expanded. About 100 new Backstage locations will be added to existing Macy’s stores this year, as the chain hopes to bring in younger, discount-minded women shoppers.

Backstage is not a clearance store, unlike the store’s “Last Act” clearance department.  It has a separate merchandising strategy and a different pricing approach than a typical Macy’s department store, where coupons and other promotional offers are often used.  In many stores, Backstage is taking up half or more of the space on the first floor, with the second floor still a traditional Macy’s.

At Backstage, “the price is the final price,” store manager Kris Weaver said. “There’s no need for coupons. You don’t have to wait for a great sale to get the best value.”

But is it really the best price? 

Digital Reporter Dan Monk compared prices of a number of Backstage items, and found them very competitive with discount retailers.

Calvin Klein luggage: Backstage has the 20-inch Cortlandt 3.0 Hardside Spinner priced at $59.99. That beats Overstock.com at $116.99, Walmart.com at $84.49, and Amazon’s offering from Irv’s Luggage at $116.99.

George Foreman grill:  Backstage has the 9-serving Panini grill at $39.99. That roughly matches the $39 price at Walmart.com and Amazon, much better than Sears’ price of $62.35.


Hover Cover: The Backstage price is $12.99 for this Magnetic Microwave Splatter Guard, better than the online price of $14.99 that WCPO found at Target, HoveCover.com and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Accent Chair: Macy’s Backstage offered an upholstered chair without arms for $149. A nearby TJ Maxx had a similar chair for $99.

Yankee Candle: The 14.5-ounce Sage and Bergamot candle sells for $9.99 at Macy’s Backstage, same price as Steinmart.com, better than Amazon’s price per ounce on a larger version of the same scent.

Remington 14 piece hair styling kit: Macy’s Backstage offers this at $12.99, better than BigLots.com at $14.99.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear board book: Macy’s Backstage has it for $6.99, close to Amazon’s $6.08 price tag and Target’s price of $6.09.

Macy’s, like all legacy department stores, has been losing customers to Amazon, and discounters like H&M, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx, and others. It hopes Backstage brings them back. And based on the prices we found, it has chance of doing that.

As always,  don’t waste your money.

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