Macy's may be put up for sale

Macy’s, the iconic department store chain that has lost shoppers to nimbler rivals and online retailers, may be sold, according to a report.

The retailer’s CEO Terry Lundgren, who will be stepping down this year, is now willing to potentially place the chain he helmed for more than 13 years in the hands of a new owner, according to a report in the New York Post.

The move would be a way for the beleaguered brand to avoid a battle for control of its board of directors, in the wake of some investors’ mounting frustrations about Macy’s slumping sales and anemic growth.

Macy’s announced what it is just the latest round of closures, when it said last month that it would shutter 68 stores. Like so many of its peers, the store chain has struggled to compete with fast-fashion brands like Zara and H&M, and to bring in shoppers who are increasingly content to pick out clothing, accessories and other items online.

Macy’s announced in June that CEO Terry Lundgren would be leaving the top job, and the store chain’s President Jeff Gennette would be taking the helm as the retailer attempted to transform in order to meet the shifting tastes of the modern consumer.

Lundgren said in a statement then that “our company must and will change in response to the profound secular forces that are driving consumer spending.’’

But the changes may not have come fast enough according to the news report,which cited sources who said that Starboard Value, the New York hedge fund headed by Jeffrey Smith, wants seats on the retailer’s board to help steer it back to profitable terrain.

Macy's impressed investors at the start of the decade, boosting profits and shares reached a record high of $73.61 in 2015, but shares have plummeted in value after the store chain repeatedly failed to meet sales forecasts. However, in the wake of reports about a possible sale, Macy's shares were up 3.63% to $30.27 on Thursday morning.

Many retailers are struggling and even going out of business amid the changing shopping landscape. Last month, American Apparel, which filed for bankruptcy protection late last year, said it would lay off roughly 2,400 employees. The Limited, after closing all of its stores, has also filed for bankruptcy protection. And Sears said last month that it would be closing 150 locations and selling its signature Craftsman tool brand.

Contributing: Alexander Coolidge at the Cincinnati Enquirer

USA TODAY


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