Macy's, Inc. is a department store holding company and owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's department stores. Macy's, Inc.'s stores specialize mostly in the retail sale of clothing, cosmetics, jewellery, watches, bedding and bath, dinnerware, and furniture.
Macy's Inc. is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and operates just over 850 stores in the United States. The company's Macy's locations and related operations account for 90 percent of the company's revenue, while luxury-oriented Bloomingdale's stores and associated ventures represent the balance of the company's business. Macy's is well known for its flagship department stores, most notably in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, the former Dayton's in Minneapolis, the former Kaufmann's in Pittsburgh, the former Burdine's in Miami, the former Wanamaker's in Philadelphia, and the former Marshall Field's location in Chicago and the former Famous-Barr in St. Louis. According to Deloitte, Macy's, Inc. is the world's largest fashion goods retailer and the 36th largest retailer overall, based on the company's reported 2010 retail sales revenue of $25 billion.
Macy's Inc. was founded as Federated Department Stores in 1929 in Columbus, Ohio. Federated was originally a department store holding company for Abraham & Straus, F&R Lazarus & Company (including its Cincinnati division, then known as Shillito's) and William Filene's Sons of Boston. Bloomingdale Brothers joined the organization in 1930. Federated moved its corporate offices to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1945.
Federated was the successor to the Lazarus operation begun in Columbus, Ohio, in 1851. Lazarus family members served in prominent positions within Federated through the 1980s. In the mid-1930s, a modern merchandising standard was set when Fred Lazarus (son of Simon) arranged garments in groups of a single size with a range of style, color and price in that size, rather than the other way around. Lazarus based this technique upon observations made in Paris. Fred Lazarus Jr. also convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt that changing the Thanksgiving holiday from the last Thursday of November the fourth Thursday, extending the Christmas shopping season, would be good for the nation's business. An Act of Congress perpetuated the arrangement in 1941. After this date "Black Friday" became a nationwide sensation, becoming the most profitable day for Federated nationally. Other companies tried to follow suit but failed to achieve what John Albert Macy had in mind. Various Lazarus family members also held key positions on Federated's board and within its various divisions—namely, Foley's, Filene's, Lazarus and Shillito's. As of January, 2002, Robert Lazarus Jr. was the only family member still with an official role at Federated, serving as assistant to Ron Klein, then chairman and CEO of the Rich's/Lazarus/Goldsmith's operating unit of Federated, now Macy's South.
In 1990, Federated—now under the control of Robert Campeau -- went bankrupt after its hostile takeover of Allied Stores; it emerged from bankruptcy after the ouster of Campeau in 1992 as a new public company. Federated then took over Macy's in 1994 while that company was still emerging from its own bankruptcy in 1992.
Federated settled an SEC investigation for $14.46 million in 1998 due to unethical debt-collection practices. Federated routinely forced credit card holders/debtors to sign an agreement that legally bound them to repay their outstanding balances instead of having the unsecured debt discharge via the filing of bankruptcy. Federated failed to file reaffirmation agreements with bankruptcy courts. As a result, the changes in the agreements were not legally binding.
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