Are yesterday’s department stores ready to make a comeback?
People of a certain age who grew up in New Jersey probably remember the Bamberger’s department store chain and, notably, its once popular flagship in downtown Newark. By 1986, the chain had been acquired by Macy’s and all its stores were renamed. While many current resident of New Jersey do not know the Bamberger’s name, there’s a chance it may be making a comeback.
The reason is that Macy’s has reached a settlement in a 2011 suit it brought against Strategic Marks LLC of Newport Beach that sought usage rights to the brand names of Bamberger’s, Bullock’s, Foley’s, I. Magnin, Jordan Marsh and Robinson-May.
Ellia Kassoff, founder of Strategic Marks, told the Cincinnati Business Courier that the company was extremely pleased with the settlement. “Now we can move forward with our plans, and we’re going to have the virtual mall, and then we’re talking to mall developers and investors and, in fact, department store owners about resurrecting the stores in brick-and-mortar form,” he said.
In an interview with CNBC, Mr. Kassoff said, “We’re going to be hiring buyers that remember what made those stores successful. We want to make sure we have that experience for the customer.”
In time, Mr. Kassoff told CNBC he is looking to restore the various regional department stores to their former glory by setting themselves apart from the typical “homogenized shopping experience” that most consumers find themselves shopping in today.
- Macy’s loses legacy department store brands in settlement; What about Marshall Field’s? – Cincinnati Business Courier/Milwaukee Business Journal
- Will Strategic Marks bring Macy’s brands back to life? – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is there a future for former regional department store brands in today’s retailing environment? Are there any acquired by Strategic Marks that you think have a better chance at success than others? What will be the key to making this grand experiment work?