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Entries in Macy's (12)

Tuesday
Mar052013

Martha Stewart Takes the Stand in Macy's Lawsuit

David Handschuh/Pool via Bloomberg(NEW YORK) -- Even in court Martha Stewart never fails to make an impression.

Stewart, who referred to herself as an “uber-designer,” testified Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan wearing a short, light brown skirt and matching vest with a cream colored blouse underneath.  At one point she declared “I love Macy’s,” the company that is suing her for breach of contract.

Macy’s insists it has exclusive rights to sell Stewart’s line of home products.  It accused her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, of violating that agreement when it inked a deal with JCPenny, though Stewart seemed to see no conflict.

“It just boggles my mind that we’re here,” Stewart testified.

Asked whether Stewart’s company suggested to Macy's that it could or would sell goods in any competing department store she answered, "There were categories that were non-exclusive to Macy's that we could sell in other department stores.”

Stewart said she did business with lots of other stores.

“I don't know if you can consider Petsmart a department store for pets,” she said.  “Michaels is kind of a department store for crafts.”

Ted Grossman, an attorney representing Macy’s, repeatedly tried to tar Stewart as cut-throat businesswoman willing let others assume risk as she raked in profits, an accusation Stewart rebuked.

"We take tremendous risk,” she said. “Our first obligation is to our consumer."

The lawsuit calls into question the legality of hundreds of items Stewart’s company agreed to sell inside JCPenny stores.

"We thought, and I hope rightly so, that we were allowed to do such a thing," Stewart said, attempting to condense a multi-million dollar lawsuit into a simple misunderstanding.

Stewart’s turn on the witness stand brought her back to a New York court eight years after she was convicted of lying to authorities about her sale of ImClone stock.

When asked whether she was comfortable on the witness stand Stewart replied, “As comfortable as can be.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan052013

Macy's, Sears, Amazon, Max Studio Fined for 'Bamboozling' Customers

Bloomberg News Photo by Diane Bondareff(NEW YORK) -- Four national retailers have agreed to pay $1.26 million in penalties for falsely labeling clothing and textiles as made of bamboo, when they were actually made of rayon, a synthetic material.

The Federal Trade Commission announced this week that Amazon.com, Leon Max, Inc., Macy's, and Sears, Roebuck and Co. ignored warning letters the commission sent to companies in early 2010.

Accordingly, the four companies agreed to pay penalties totaling $1.26 million to settle charges that they violated the Textile Products Identification Act and the FTC's "Textile Rules" by mislabeling and advertising products as made of bamboo.

The FTC warned that unless a product is made directly with bamboo fiber, often called "mechanically processed bamboo," it can't be called bamboo.

In a guideline issued to companies, the FTC refers to the mislabeling practice as "bamboozling" customers.

Sears, which is the parent company of Kmart, agreed to pay $450,000. Amazon is paying $455,000 while Macy's will pay $250,000, and Leon Max, which produces Max Studio clothing, is paying $80,000.

The FTC said the varying penalties reflect how long the companies continued to sell mislabeled textiles after receiving the warning letter and the number of products sold.

"We cooperated with the FTC in reaching this settlement in lieu of pursuing further litigation," said Sears Holdings Corp. spokesman Howard Riefs in a statement. "We continue to take these regulations seriously."

A spokesman for Macy's declined to comment. Amazon and Max Studio did not return requests for comment.

The FTC said the companies will be required to ensure the labels and ads for bamboo textiles they sell "accurately indicate their fiber content."

For example, the FTC said Macy's allegedly used the terms "bamboo" and "bamboo fiber" on textile labels.

So-called bamboo textiles are often marketed as environmentally friendly, but the process for manufacturing rayon, even when it is made from bamboo, "is far from a 'green' one," the FTC said.

Rayon is sometimes made using "environmentally toxic chemicals in a process that emits hazardous pollutants into the air," the FTC said.

"While different plants, including bamboo, can be used as a source material to create rayon, there's no trace of the original plant in the finished rayon product," the FTC said in a guide for marketers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec072012

Retailers Feeling Pressure for Longer Store Hours, as Macy's Announces 48-Hour Openings

Bloomberg News Photo by Diane Bondareff(NEW YORK) -- Macy's announced most of its stores will be open continuously in the 48 hours leading up to Christmas Eve, some 65 hours straight, putting pressure on other retailers to expand their own hours or promotions.

Most Macy's Inc. stores across the country will be open two days straight, beginning on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 a.m. through Sunday, Dec. 23 at 7 a.m. for its last "One Day Sale" of the season.

While its "One Day Sale" concludes on Sunday, Dec. 23 at 7 a.m., many stores will remain open until midnight that night, so they will be open for 65 hours consecutively, a spokeswoman said.

Whether other companies will follow suit is yet to be seen, said Jennifer Black, president of Jennifer Black & Associates, a research company focusing on the retail and apparel manufacturing industries. While many retail companies offer extended hours starting from the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday through December, few make the jump to a full 24-hour period.

"I think it does put pressure as far as hours on other retailers," she said.

In addition, 34 Macy's locations will remain open until 2 a.m. and 23 locations will be open until the close of business on Christmas Eve.

The company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, said it is expanding its annual holiday shopping hours for last-minute shoppers in search of deals for gifts.

The retailer said it began keeping its doors open 24 hours with Macy's Queens Center in New York in 2006. Eventually, 14 locations were open 24 hours leading up to Christmas.

Some retail workers have voiced opposition to other stores' longer holiday hours. As stores opened earlier this year on Thanksgiving to get ahead of retail competition on Black Friday, one family member of a Target employee started a petition asking the company to refrain from opening its store on Thanksgiving at 8 p.m.

While Black Friday has traditionally kicked off the holiday shopping season, retailers began offering promotions in the week leading up to it online and in-stores, followed by Cyber Week deals the following week.

Most of Wal-Mart's 4,000 stores are open 24 hours a day. Apple's only 24-hour retail store is on New York City's famed shopping street, Fifth Avenue.

Black said the extended hours would be a win for shoppers who value convenience and are buying holiday gifts for others. Macy's declined to share sales figures from stores that have been opened for 24 hours.

A spokeswoman for Macy's said it would be difficult to give historical perspective on store sales because 24-hour shopping has been in a limited number of stores in previous years.

Black said it is likely the past extended hours have paid off, if the company is expanding the system to other stores.

"In Macy's case, we don't know the numbers, but I would think it could affect the bottom line, and at the same time, could also make them the retailer of choice," she said.

But who is likely to go shopping in the wee hours of the night? Macy's said traffic may be lighter between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Black said during Black Friday, many young shoppers take advantage of early openings.

"It gives them a place to go and an excuse to go to the mall, especially if you don't have a car," she said.

But Black says any retailer would have to distinguish themselves with not just extended store hours, but great deals.

When it announced its extended hours on Thursday, Macy's also highlighted a "short list" of gifts under $100, $50 and $25, beginning on Dec. 13. Those include a Keurig Mini Plus coffee maker for under $100, gold-plated and silver-plated pendants with crystals in letter initials for under $50 and Polaroid headphones for under $25.

"If you're open 24 hours and you don't have good deals, you would have to be really desperate to go," Black said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov132012

Petition Urges Macy's to Dump Donald Trump Ads, Merchandise

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A petition urging Macy's to "dump" Donald Trump and his branded goods from its advertisements and stores could reach 500,000 signatures Tuesday as some consumers react to the retail giant's relationship with the controversial critic of President Obama. Among those consumers was Cher, the singer and actress, who eloquently aired her frustrations via Twitter on Sunday.

"Racist cretin who'd lie like 'his rug' to get some cheap press! I can't believe Macy's thinks he's the right 'man' 2 represent their name!"

The so-called "Dump Trump" petition, which users sign through the site signon.org, was organized by 30-year-old lawyer Angelo Carusone. Carusone cites Trump's post-election tweets, one of which urged a "march on Washington" after the election. Carusone said he also believes a Macy's Christmas ad in which Trump doubts a man who claims to be Santa, presumably in a nod to Trump's "birther" argument that Obama may not have been born in the U.S., has helped encourage people to sign his petition.

"When I saw Trump's repeated calls for revolution on Twitter and the $5 million birther stunt, I realized, as a lover of Macy's, that the company was getting publicity from Trump's chicanery consequence-free," Carusone told ABC News.

Carusone organized a similar "Stop Beck" effort in 2009, which focused on another controversial figure, Glenn Beck, and urged his advertisers to reassess their relationship with Beck. Carusone called his left-wing campaigns "advertiser education efforts."

"I don't believe people really care what Trump has to say," Carusone said, "This is about Macy's benefitting from Trump's unacceptable behavior."

Macy's released a statement Tuesday evening that distanced the company from Trump's statements without naming him.

"Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy's -- or at any retailer, for that matter -- express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company."

Trump has not spoken publicly about the petition. However, the business mogul did respond to Cher's comments via his own Twitter account.

"@cher -- I don't wear a "rug" -- it's mine," Trump tweeted Tuesday, "And I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn't work."

Earlier Tuesday, Trump also tweeted, "My fragrance -- "Success" -- is flying off the shelves @Macys The perfect Christmas gift!"

Trump's Twitter account has nearly 2 million followers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep062012

Macy’s Longest-Serving Employee Retires After 73 Years

Carol Seitz/Macy's(NEW YORK) -- During her first days as an employee at Macy’s Department Store in New York’s Herald Square, Rose Syracuse, then 17 years old, would get lost in the long, intertwining halls and corridors within the landmark building. FDR was president, America was still two years away from another world war, and the World’s Fair was just opening in New York.

Seventy-three years later, and Syracuse, now 93, knows the tunnels inside Macy’s perhaps better than anyone. After all, she is Macy’s longest serving employee ever, loyally working at the department store for all of 73 years before her retirement yesterday.

Following a ceremony that honored multiple employees, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren presented Syracuse with a special commendation: a bouquet of roses as he bent down on his knee to signify Syracuse’s long marriage to the company.

“When I was 17, I graduated high school and the first thing I did was I went to Macy’s for a job and it worked,” says Syracuse, whose starting salary was $15 a week.

Syracuse began and ended her career at Macy’s in the accounting department.  “I was always looking for the accounting department,” says Syracuse, “you know, Macy’s was a bank at one time. Then I became a bookkeeper, then the computers came in and you get used to everything.”

“Macy’s has come a long, long way,” says Syracuse, who was forced to retire after she fell and broke her hip about six months ago. “If I didn’t break my hip,” says Syracuse, “I would still be there.”

Syracuse’s family tried to get her to retire from Macy’s when she turned 65. “I said no,” says Syracuse.

Twenty-seven years later, Syracuse is finally throwing in the towel. Despite being off the payroll however, Syracuse does not plan on leaving Macy’s altogether.

“We’ll make sure we keep her busy,” says Robin Hall, senior vice president of Macy’ Parade. “We are gonna find activity for her and we hope to find her a position and keep her busy because she wants to be engaged and involved.

“Macy’s is her family, people don’t leave their family,” says Hall.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan242012

Can Martha Stewart Get Her House in Order Again?

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Digitas(NEW YORK) -- The resiliency of Martha Stewart and her company may be put to the test once again. Department store chain Macy’s sued Martha Stewart’s company on Monday, trying to block a licensing deal between Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and J.C. Penney.

Filed in New York State Supreme Court, Macy’s alleges Martha Stewart Living’s deal with the department store J.C. Penney violates the terms of an exclusive deal Macy’s has to sell Martha Stewart Living’s products. In a deal last announced last month, J.C. Penney acquired a 16.6 percent stake in Martha Stewart Living and will open mini-Martha Stewart shops in its stores.

The lawsuit may be another blow to Stewart’s empire, which has posted losses in four of the last five years.

The Hallmark Channel announced earlier this month that Stewart’s television program, The Martha Stewart Show, would be canceled after the current season. Her syndicated show, which has received two Daytime Emmy awards, first debuted in 2005 and the Hallmark Channel has aired it since 2010.

Stewart’s company, which describes itself as a leading provider of original “how-to” information, publishes four magazines, runs Marthastewart.com, and has several merchandise lines.

With the proliferation of online how-to and home design television shows, websites and magazines, competition in that space is rampant.

Stewart has bounced back before. In her insider trading case in 2004, Stewart was convicted of lying to investigators about the sale of ImClone stock and was incarcerated for five months.

Like most magazine publishers, Martha Stewart Living has seen declining revenues. Total revenue dropped to $231 million in 2010 from $328 million in 2007.

Macy’s has renewed its agreement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. to exclusively sell Martha Stewart-branded product in categories such as cookware, kitchen utensils, bed and bath for another five years, a spokesman for Macy’s said in a statement. The current agreement now expires in January 2018. The original agreement was signed by Martha Stewart Living in 2006, “in which the right for Macy’s to sell product exclusively in these categories was clearly outlined.”

The company said it will not comment further on the suit because the case is in litigation, but said “Macy’s plans to fully support its exclusive Martha Stewart-branded product going forward.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec082011

Macy’s Employee Fired for Allegedly Violating Store’s LGBT Policy

Bloomberg News Photo by Diane Bondareff(SAN ANTONIO) -- A Texas woman claims she was fired from her job at Macy’s for telling a transgender customer that she could not change in the women’s dressing room, according to ABC News’ San Antonio affiliate KSAT.

The woman, Natalie Johnson, has filed a complaint with the Federal Employment Commission, saying that her religious beliefs prevent her from recognizing transgender people, according to KSAT.

Johnson, 27, was employed at the River Center Macy’s in San Antonio until last week. She said a teenager caught her attention because the teen was shopping for women’s clothing, but Johnson was convinced the shopper was male.

When Johnson spotted the teenager in the women’s dressing area, Johnson told her she could not change there.

“I had to just be straightforward and  tell him, ‘You’re a man,’ and of course that … really got him steamed,” Johnson told KSAT.

The teenager’s friends argued with Johnson, reportedly telling her that Macy’s allows transgender people to change in the dressing room of the gender they identify with.

“I made my choice the other day,” Johnson said. “I refuse to comply with this policy.”

Macy’s did not answer ABCNews.com’s request for clarification on its policy regarding transgender customers and where they can try on clothes, but Macy’s senior vice president of corporate communications and external affairs Jim Sluzewski issued the following statement:

“Macy’s is very proud of our philosophy of diversity and inclusion, and we welcome all customers into our stores. This includes customers of all races, ethnicities, ages, genders, faith traditions, countries of origins and lifestyle preferences. We strive to ensure that each customer is able to shop in a discrimination-free environment.”

Asked if she would handle the situation the same way if given another chance, Johnson said she would.

“There are no transgenders in the world. A guy can dress up as a woman all he wants. That’s still not going to make you a woman,” Johnson said. “If you’re a man going into the women’s fitting room, I will kindly escort you to the men’s fitting room.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov112011

Stores Opening with Black Friday Deals on Thanksgiving Day

Tay Rees/Lifesize/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Christmas shopping will be starting even earlier this year.  Black Friday is coming to Thursday. That's right on Thanksgiving Day.

"Nothing's sacred anymore, I guess," Chicago resident Amanda Palmucci said today. "I don't agree with it. I think the best way to spend Thanksgiving is with your family – overeating, you know."

For the first time, Target, Macy's, Best Buy and Kohl's say they will be opening their doors at midnight Thursday. Wal-Mart will open at 10 p.m.

"Basically what it is, it's a race for space," said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at the NPD Group. "If retailers can be the first doors open, they're going to capture that enthusiastic Black Friday customer."

Cohen said that even though the weekend represented about 11 percent of the holiday business, it still set a tone.

Sears and JC Penney said they will not be opening on Thanksgiving Day so that workers can be with their families. Anthony Hardwick, a Target employee, has created an online petition urging his employer not to open until Friday morning.

"I'm going to have to get some sleep and I’ll probably go to bed at 2 and miss my family's Thanksgiving dinner completely," said Hardwick, who has to be at work at Target at 11 p.m. to prepare for the rush of shoppers.

Brenda Hurst told ABC News that she had shopped on Black Friday once and would never do it again.

"It was an absolute madhouse," the Indiana woman said. "I had a woman who would not give me a parking spot. … She was saving it for somebody. My personal vote is: Everyone take a break from spending and let's just be thankful for what we already have with our family and good health."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep262011

Macy's to Hire 78,000 Workers for 2011 Holiday Shopping Season

Ben Hider/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- The economy may be down but at least one department store chain is planning for a robust 2011 holiday shopping season.

Macy's announced Monday that it plans to 78,000 people to work the holidays on sales floors, in call centers and at shipping hubs.  The latest plans marks a 4 percent increase in seasonal hiring from last year's 75,000 workers.

"We always hire aggressively during the holidays to ensure our customers are well-served in this important shopping period.  We expect additional hiring this year given the continued sales growth in our business -- both in-store and online," said Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren.

Macy's will begin hiring for store sales positions next month.  Hiring in distribution centers and store receiving has already begun.

Most of the positions will be part-time, however, the department store notes that some employees hired for the holidays may be offered year-round work depending on their skill and performance levels.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul112011

Macy's to Pay $750,000 Civil Penalty for Hazardous Clothing Sales 

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Macy’s Inc. will pay a $750,000 fine for failing to immediately report that it sold children’s sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets with dangerous drawstrings at the neck, which could cause strangulation, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  

CPSC alleged that Macy's and Macy's-owned stores such as Bloomingdale's and Robinson's-May knowingly sold the hazardous garments between 2006 and 2010, even some that had already been recalled.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act requires that manufacturers, distributors and retailers report items deemed hazardous or defective immediately to CPSC.

Though Macy's has agreed to pay the fines, it denies knowingly violating the law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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