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Macy’s Quietly Launches Millennial Floor at Herald Square Flagship

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The world may soon be moving on to Generation Z, but since the Millennial shopper still wields a whopping $200 billion plus in direct purchasing power, the creatively-inclined, connected consumer remains Macy’s target.

For the past few years, Macy’s has been working on ways to lure the Millennial shopper to stores, including adding greater athletic assortments and revamping the shopping experience, and now the retailer has launched an entire floor dedicated to the Millennial juniors shopper.

One Below, so named for its position on the lower level of Macy’s Herald Square flagship, opened with little fanfare last Wednesday and traffic has been slow-going so far.

The well-lit, roughly 53,000-square-foot space where Macy’s home goods used to be is geared toward targeting the experience-seeking Millennial shopper—there’s a blow dry bar beside the beauty department, for one.

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Technology—big among this target market—is also highlighted in the space with a prominent 3-D printed section where consumers can find Zibari watches with 3-D printed bands, Be Spiked jewelry that’s 3-D printed and fused into shape by laser, and 3-D printed iPhone 6 cases.

Samsung, Fossil and Fitbit are grouped together in another tech-specific section, and to tap into personalization, another key trend today’s consumers demand, Fossil features a Watch Bar where shoppers can personalize their wrist wear by choosing a face, a band and the box it goes in.

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Millennials seek ease when it comes to shopping and the One Below floor is appropriately laid out to accommodate. Departments are evenly-spaced, clearly designated and simple to shop as products aren’t piled up or difficult to see.

With brands like Benefit Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Kipling, Guess, Betsey Johnson, Jessica Simpson, Volcom, Vera Bradley and Levi’s, Macy’s has culled a collection it feels appeals to its younger shopper.

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One Below lends itself to being lively, with large form art, moving graphic images beneath manikins and a slew of large screens and signage showcasing style inspirations and product information.

What’s lacking though, are the shoppers.

“The traffic is a problem,” Tia Arnold, a fossil vendor who has been surveying trends on the floor since its opening, said Monday. “The excitement when people come down here is high,” she added, “But this whole idea needs to warm up first. And it might bring juniors here, but they need to know about it.”

There’s little signage on higher floors noting the new floor’s presence, and Arnold said Monday morning’s quite light foot traffic was more than the store got on opening day.

Most shoppers are doing more perusing than buying, and more older, non-Millennial shoppers are buying for their Millennial children rather than the young shoppers exploring for themselves, according to Arnold.

It’s still early to tell how well the format will work for Macy’s, but the retailer has been confident that it’s growing its Millennial consumer base and will benefit from the estimated $65 billion these shoppers spend on Macy’s-type merchandise each year.

“We believe we have great opportunity to accelerate sales growth among customers in this generation,” Macy’s chief merchandising officer Jeffrey Gennette said when the retailer launched its Millennial initiative back in 2012. “Doing so requires us to think from the customer’s point of view about our assortments and store experience, and to align our internal resources so we can move quickly and with focus.”

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