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Macy’s Putting the Spotlight on Backstage

Macy’s Inc. is bringing dozens of new Backstage shop-in-shops into its full-line department stores this year.

The company aims to capitalize on the success of off-price retail and its ability to attract shoppers constantly hunting for newness and wallet-friendly deals. It’s also building on the 45 store-within-a-store Backstage experiences it opened inside Macy’s stores last year for more than 300 such offerings nationwide. The retailer is taking direct aim at current off-price titans TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington and Ross, which Wall Street believes could benefit from inflation-hit consumers looking to squeeze more out of their dollar.

The Backstage locations will offer clothing for men, women and kids, plus homewares, accessories, handbags, beauty and other on-trend goods, Macy’s said.

Steve Dipaola/AP Images for Macy's
A look at the women’s section at the Macy’s Backstage Union Square location in San Francisco. Jasmin Van T Photography

New products arrive “every single day,” according to the off-price channel’s website, which pointed out that the merchandising team curates the assortment instead of relying on clearance items pulled from other stores.

This year Macy’s will open 37 Backstage locations spanning 11,000 to 16,000 square feet inside existing department stores. The first is slated to open on April 9 in Chicago and Herald Square is set for May. The 36 store locations include Georgia, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oregon, Idaho, Michigan, Utah, North Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and Virginia. Macy’s has yet to determine where the 37th Backstage shop-in-shop will open.

Though it’s focusing on merging the off-price and full-line shopping experience, Macy’s also runs two stand-alone Backstage stores in Dallas. Like some of its retail peers, the company is also looking to invest in additional off-mall locations this year, including the smaller Market by Macy’s concept currently live in three Dallas and Atlanta locations.

Shoppers can use their Macy’s credit cards to make Backstage purchases and earn loyalty points, but the off-price experience isn’t part of the Macy’s Star Money Bonus Days, which helps users rack up points even faster. Customers can’t return Backstage purchases at Macy’s stores without an off-price shop-in-shop or at macys.com. The company might someday add an e-commerce component to the Backstage experience, however.