Claire’s sets up shops inside of Macy’s stores

Photos: Claire’s
Nov 30, 2022

Macy’s has been pursuing opportunities to grow its business through store-within-a-store partnerships, and in its latest alliance is teaming up with Claire’s to open shops inside 21 Macy’s stores, including eight flagship locations.

Claire’s, known as a destination point for many tweens and teens looking to get their ears pierced, sells jewelry, clothing, beauty products and other items in demand by its core customers.

The shops inside Macy’s will sell cosmetics, hair accessories, jewelry and seasonal items, including products for holiday celebrations. Claire’s will install its own fixtures in the shops, select products it will sell and use its own staff to maintain stock levels. The shops will be located in some of Macy’s most trafficked stores, including Herald Square and Roosevelt Field in New York City. Other shops will be located in Atlanta, California, Florida, Hawaii and Nevada.

“Macy’s and Claire’s are two iconic brands in fashion with a longstanding commitment to being destinations for inspirational and accessible style for generations of consumers,” said Ryan Vero, Claire’s CEO, in a statement. “We help celebrate special moments, and with this partnership, we are combining our brand power to reach new customers and serve them with the latest on-trend accessories in time for the holiday shopping season and beyond.”

Said Macy’s Stephen Moore, Claire’s shops will “expand our jewelry and accessories assortment and give our customers even more ways to own their style.”

The Claire’s deal follows the announcement earlier this year that Macy’s was adding Toys “R” Us shops ranging from 1,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet to all its stores nationwide. Those shops were expected to be expanded between 500 square feet and 3,000 square feet during the holidays to offer shoppers a wider selection of products to choose from.

The results of the Toys “R” Us deal appear to have informed Macy’s thinking in its discussions with Claire’s.

“We’ve found that customers shopping Toys ‘R’ Us are younger and more diverse than our Macy’s customer and that 85 percent of them are cross-shopping,” Marc Mastronardi, the retailer’s chief stores officer, told The Wall Street Journal.

Macy’s has also increased the number of Pandora A/S jewelry shops in select stores from five to 28, according to the Journal’s reporting.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are Claire’s and Macy’s a good match? Are store-within-a-store concepts a viable way for department stores to reinvent themselves?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"Claire's exemplifies the wholesale heyday that is underway as brands reconsider the benefits of leveraging others' physical and digital footprints."
"Smart. A jump start at cultivating this young customer. But it needs to scale and scale quickly."
"Stores must provide products and services not easily purchased via e-commerce."

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15 Comments on "Claire’s sets up shops inside of Macy’s stores"

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Mark Ryski

Stores-within-stores can be an excellent way to build traffic and attract new consumers. But at 21 locations this isn’t more than a small pilot. When you consider that Walmart is planning to expand Claire’s to 1,200 locations, I’m not sure how this announcement moves the needle. That said, I do think store-within-a-store can be an excellent strategy for department stores to expand their offerings if you find the right partners.

Neil Saunders

Since coming out of bankruptcy the team at Claire’s has done a fantastic job of revitalizing the brand and engaging a new generation of younger shoppers. Given the strength of the company it is, on the surface, a good addition to Macy’s. However I have to say that this is the latest in a long line of store-within-a-store initiatives from Macy’s all of which have come to nothing. The only way for Macy’s to make itself relevant to younger shoppers is for it to put in the work to evolve its own proposition. Sticking Claire’s locations in shops which are fusty and messy will no more help Macy’s than Sephora shops saved JCPenney.

Phil Rubin

It’s hard to see this being a significant growth driver for Macy’s, which seems to be throwing a lot of spaghetti at the proverbial wall. Having started my career at the original Macy’s during the original rise of The Limited and Gap, the “shop-within-a-store” strategy made a lot of sense to maintain department store dominance. However today I struggle to even walk the floors in one of their stores, and can only think of those who built the business rolling over in their graves at what ultimately happened to a once remarkable retailer.

Credit Macy’s for trying new (-ish) things but it’s hard to be bullish, especially in such a promotional and competitive environment.

Bob Amster

Simply put, this is a limited pilot and both sides will be monitoring the outcome over the specified period. It is an effective method of evolving without betting the farm.

Georganne Bender

Claire’s is a favorite destination for tweens and teens, adding locations inside Macy’s will give the retailer more exposure.

The best thing about this partnership is that Claire’s customers will be introduced to department store shopping. That’s a needed win for Macy’s.

Dave Bruno

I love the Toys “R” Us stores inside of Macy’s and hope Claire’s is an equally successful fit. Time will tell if this move connects with the younger audience Macy’s is seeking. But looking beyond this Macy’s program, as this store-within-a-store concept continues to expand (e.g. Target, Kohl’s, etc.), do we run the risk of recreating the (rapidly-dying) mall? When do we stop adding value and start diluting brand identity?

DeAnn Campbell

Claire’s was always a darling of tweens and young Gen Zs but the low product price point made it difficult for the company to drive enough profit to sustain a network of physical stores. Partnership with Macy’s will play to the strengths and needs of both companies by introducing younger shoppers to a long-standing legacy department store they may have connected more to their parents than to themselves. And Claire’s earns a much needed physical presence at a more affordable rent.

Carol Spieckerman

Macy’s ongoing store-within-a-store expansion is one driver. Claire’s decision to lean into wholesale and retailer partnerships is the bigger force. Claire’s exemplifies the wholesale heyday that is underway as brands reconsider the benefits of leveraging others’ physical and digital footprints.

Jeff Sward

Smart. A jump start at cultivating this young customer. But it needs to scale and scale quickly. Seems like collaboration is taking on a whole new level of importance. Probably lower margin than pure private label, but quicker (immediate) and more predictable consumer response. Collaborations can hit the ground running. Private brand development has a much longer runway.

Gene Detroyer

Perhaps store-within-a-store is the only future for department stores. Consider if Macy’s provides all the infrastructure, and the in-store brand provides the draw and product. It sure simplifies a business that Macy’s is no longer particularly good at.

David Biernbaum

The stores-within-a-store concept isn’t new but it needs to grow and expand if department stores are to survive and thrive. Stores must provide products and services not easily purchased via e-commerce. Piercing is one good example. Perfumes are another. Certain brands of clothes that require service and individual assistance and customer attention is another.

Brian Delp
2 months 8 days ago

Interesting move as Walmart already has a presence of Claire’s product in-store as well. This is a bit behind the curve and lacks a bit of innovation.

Craig Sundstrom

I’ve never been a teenage girl — and I doubt I ever will be one! — so my answer is based on perceptions gathered as I walked by, but that perception is this is something of a step down for Macy’s (OTOH, it might make a great fit for JCP or Kohl’s) At least here in California, where the stores have always been rather upscale. As might be guessed, I’ve not been overly impressed by Macy’s partnerships with failing — or failed — retailers … if Tiffany wants a slice of their floor(s) we can talk.

Scott Norris

There are already Claire’s on every level of the Mall of America — some directly atop each other. Why would another one inside the Macy’s there not simply dilute overall sales? If I’m Macy’s, why do I want a brand in my store that basically has the same footprint inside Walmart? Come on already — a retailer should commit to selecting, stocking, and promoting their own goods, and stop being a real-estate play or making profit off vendor charges and consignment. Do the actual work of retail, or close up and let a new generation try.

Anil Patel

We are well aware that Macy’s has been losing its appeal, but implementing the store-within-a-store concept will help them cater to the needs of different audiences. Partnering with Toys “R” Us earlier this year has definitely proven successful for Macy’s. I believe introducing Claire’s will also help them realign the selling efforts towards the younger generations.

"Claire's exemplifies the wholesale heyday that is underway as brands reconsider the benefits of leveraging others' physical and digital footprints."
"Smart. A jump start at cultivating this young customer. But it needs to scale and scale quickly."
"Stores must provide products and services not easily purchased via e-commerce."

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