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  #61  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2013, 11:15 PM
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I'm sure the Macy's in St. Paul isn't really needed since there's a huge store in downtown Minneapolis not all that far away. Plus people will soon be able to reach that store by rail.

Still it sucks to see any downtown stores close. Hopefully new retailers will see opportunity and take their place.
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  #62  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2013, 11:27 PM
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Downtown DC seems like a candidate for a new department store. They already have Hechts/Macys, and there are a couple stores out in Chevy Chase on the MD border,but I could see a Nordstrom doing well downtown.
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  #63  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2013, 11:58 PM
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amazing that it can make more economic sense to tear this structure down, then to build on one of downtown Houston's many surface lots.
It's only a rumor.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 12:06 AM
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Downtown DC seems like a candidate for a new department store. They already have Hechts/Macys, and there are a couple stores out in Chevy Chase on the MD border,but I could see a Nordstrom doing well downtown.
I'm actually surprised downtown DC doesn't already have a Nordstrom. Seems like they would have set up shop many years ago.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 12:11 AM
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That seems shaky.

The edge of a downtown can be a good spot for a second retail core if it can draw heavily from the nearest couple hundred thousand residents (who would mostly drive there in this scenario). And a good range of events (conventions, games) can help the restaurant component. But big events can also scare off a lot of those residents due to traffic. For any retail area it's important to become a "habit" or "default" for a lot of people, and stuff like game traffic can interrupt that.

The neighborhood is obviously gaining some residents and hotels, but the numbers aren't high enough. Add another few thousand hotel rooms within an easy walk and that'll be a big component. The resident count is drops in the bucket...build another few thousand units and you'll have better groceries and takeout, but it even dozens of towers wouldn't be a serious factor for a Macy's.

A caveat...if you did add a lot of residents (say 5,000 units within 1/3 mile), you might create the sort of environment that can also attract many people from elsewhere around town...these things can snowball. For example, residents can give more restaurants a reason to open when the workers and conventioneers aren't around, bring furniture stores, add to pedestrian traffic, focus attention on nuisances, etc. Part of the snowball effect is that office workers and tourists will also tend to spend more when there's more for sale.

Convention centers and arenas/stadia are a big problem because without a major event they're dead zones and barriers on a large scale.

The bar is lower for something like a City Target. They have a lot of things but not a ton of anything, and they're smaller. I'm not impressed with Seattle's (the supermarket is 90% mass-market packaged stuff, they don't sell the other two things I've wanted to buy there, juggling balls and a computer, and they have zero ambiance) but they fill a lot of gaps.
I feel compelled to give credit where credit is due here, and in my opinion Downtown Seattle has the healthiest retail district in its core moreso than any other comparably sized American metro - and quite a few that are much larger, actually.

I'm not sure if it's due to geographical constraints, not over-malling the metro Pugent Sound area or a function of having fairly dense adjacent and healthy neighborhoods, but you guys have certainly pulled it off very admirably. Kudos!
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  #66  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 12:37 AM
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Yeah, the Downtown St. Paul store closing is no surprise. They came to the end of a 10 year agreement with the city to keep it open. It was opened as an offshoot by Dayton's in the 60s, and for a lot of it's years, was kept open as a goodwill gesture by Dayton's. Once Dayton's(Marshall Fields) sold to Macy's...no more of that. the downtown Minneapolis store still does OK...still not as good as a lot of suburban locations sadly. I don't think the Mpls store is going anywhere at least. Every time I go in there I am reminded of the upscale feel that Dayton's had, and how NOT upscale Macy's is. Seriously, it is one step above target. SALE SALE SALE everywhere, and they don't have the customer service that Dayton's and most old fashioned dept stores had.

Last edited by MNMike; Jan 7, 2013 at 4:28 PM.
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  #67  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 1:49 AM
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There are also downtown Macy's stores in Santa Rosa and Santa Barbara, California, which anchor their respective downtown retail scenes.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 2:00 AM
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Seems like Macy's does real well when they are by a actual mall. Macy's would never close their Houston Galleria location, because everyone in Houston shops their. The Macy's in downtown Houston could not hang because no one wants to come shop around homeless people or bums asking for change, no offense.
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  #69  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 2:44 AM
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Seems like Macy's does real well when they are by a actual mall. Macy's would never close their Houston Galleria location, because everyone in Houston shops their. The Macy's in downtown Houston could not hang because no one wants to come shop around homeless people or bums asking for change, no offense.
Exactly. I was at Macy's in Valley Fair mall in Santa Clara this afternoon. Business was booming. Lots of people out shopping. The store seemed lively, modern, thriving. Basically, the opposite of most of the moribund Macy's locations mentioned in this thread.

I'm sure the locations Macy's cares about the most are the ones at primo malls like Valley Fair, not these old legacy downtown stores (except perhaps NYC and SF) that they don't know what to do with.

Sure, Macy's has kept a lot of these stores open, but they've let a lot of them slide way downhill. That can't be good for "downtown retail", and while that isn't Macy's responsibility, it also seems to me like bad long-term business strategy. It can turn people off the Macy's brand. It makes Macy's more vulnerable if online shopping suddenly gets more popular due to a technology advance. And if downtown retail somehow makes a comeback despite Macy's non-efforts, Macy's would be in a weaker position to capitalize on that.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 2:56 AM
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There are also downtown Macy's stores in Santa Rosa and Santa Barbara, California, which anchor their respective downtown retail scenes.
fflint, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Nordstrom also co-anchor downtown Santa Barbara? I've (unfortunately) never been between Ventura & SFO, so I have no idea...
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  #71  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 3:07 AM
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fflint, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Nordstrom also co-anchor downtown Santa Barbara? I've (unfortunately) never been between Ventura & SFO, so I have no idea...
It does. Nordstrom and Macy's are part of a downtown development called Paseu Nuevo that, while technically a "mall", is outdoors and feels like an extension of downtown SB. There's also a Saks 5th Avenue downtown.
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  #72  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 3:18 AM
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It does. Nordstrom and Macy's are part of a downtown development called Paseu Nuevo that, while technically a "mall", is outdoors and feels like an extension of downtown SB. There's also a Saks 5th Avenue downtown.
Thanks, rs913. I thought I had heard that...I'm way overdue for a visit to Santa Barbara. I love Ventura County, and have only recently been introduced to it. I have a feeling I will be blown away by Santa Barbara.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 3:19 AM
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I'm sure the Macy's in St. Paul isn't really needed since there's a huge store in downtown Minneapolis not all that far away. Plus people will soon be able to reach that store by rail.
Between "go to DT Minn," "go to a mall Macy's instead," "shop elsewhere in DTSP," and "shop elsewhere outside of the major downtowns," I doubt the first option will get the majority. Actually I doubt they expect a major boost at the Minneapolis store because of this. But that's just a guess.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 3:22 AM
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Originally Posted by atlantaguy View Post
I feel compelled to give credit where credit is due here, and in my opinion Downtown Seattle has the healthiest retail district in its core moreso than any other comparably sized American metro - and quite a few that are much larger, actually.

I'm not sure if it's due to geographical constraints, not over-malling the metro Pugent Sound area or a function of having fairly dense adjacent and healthy neighborhoods, but you guys have certainly pulled it off very admirably. Kudos!
Thanks. The biggest keys for us are (1) tourists, which anecdotally make up 50% of Nordstrom's sales, and (2) the amount of buying power inside the first ring of malls.

San Francisco probably has a better retail core than we do pound for pound, 7 million to 4 million.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 3:51 AM
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Thanks. The biggest keys for us are (1) tourists, which anecdotally make up 50% of Nordstrom's sales, and (2) the amount of buying power inside the first ring of malls.

San Francisco probably has a better retail core than we do pound for pound, 7 million to 4 million.
Thanks, Matt - but how about Macy's (sorry, Bon Marche)? I realize that you guys have thousands of hotel rooms, the Convention Center, the cruise ships seasonally, etc. But I want to know how Macy's is doing compared to when The Bon ran it.
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 3:54 AM
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Thanks, Matt - but how about Macy's (sorry, Bon Marche)? I realize that you guys have thousands of hotel rooms, the Convention Center, the cruise ships seasonally, etc. But I want to know how Macy's is doing compared to when The Bon ran it.
I don't see much of a difference between now and the Bon Marche days. They were owned by the same company all along. I do think the Downtown Seattle Macy's is one of the best kept up in the chain - being two blocks from the Nordstom flagship seems to keep them on their toes. I've been in the old Jordan Marsh in Boston and it looks like crap in there now.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 4:00 AM
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^And I certainly understand that San Francisco has a much more solid Downtown retail scene, as they should.

Downtown San Francisco is still the retail anchor of the entire West Coast, despite L.A.'s much larger size. I don't see this changing in any of our lifetimes, as much as I love L.A.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 4:01 AM
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Santa Barbara has a surprisingly solid downtown shopping district for a city its size.

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San Francisco probably has a better retail core than we do pound for pound, 7 million to 4 million.
San Francisco does have a better retail core than Seattle, but I was really impressed with Seattle's downtown shopping district when I was there in June. It's much better than what I expected and beats out a lot of denser, older, and bigger US cities.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 4:10 AM
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Between "go to DT Minn," "go to a mall Macy's instead," "shop elsewhere in DTSP," and "shop elsewhere outside of the major downtowns," I doubt the first option will get the majority. Actually I doubt they expect a major boost at the Minneapolis store because of this. But that's just a guess.
I lived in the Twin Cities for almost 3 years and I agree. St. Paul was sleeeeeeeepy, and while not far from Minneapolis, not exactly close at about 10-12 miles driving depending on your route, or about 40 minutes on current transit.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2013, 4:19 AM
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I don't see much of a difference between now and the Bon Marche days. They were owned by the same company all along. I do think the Downtown Seattle Macy's is one of the best kept up in the chain - being two blocks from the Nordstom flagship seems to keep them on their toes. I've been in the old Jordan Marsh in Boston and it looks like crap in there now.
I totally agree with you seaskyfan as far Jordan Marsh AND Filene's in Boston (and Florida) are concerned. They are both a distant memory, sadly.

The only converted downtown Macy's I've been in lately that seemed halfway acceptable was the old Marshall Fields in Chicago. But even that formerly grand flagship seemed somehow "gutted" to me. And all of my Chicago friends absolutely hate the fact that they erased the Marshal Fields name....all of these years later. That's pretty damn telling.
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