Federated cans Macy’s catalog, scales back Web operations

Three years after launching its long-awaited Macy’s mail order catalog, the Federated Direct division of Cincinnati-based Federated Department Stores announced that it will close the Macy’s catalog business on Feb. 1, 2002. Federated will also convert the Bloomingdales.com Website to an advertising vehicle for the Bloomingdale’s by Mail catalog and the Bloomingdale’s stores.

The Bloomingdale’s site will continue to offer electronic order forms for the Bloomingdale’s by Mail catalog. Bloomingdale’s will also continue to maintain the online bridal registry in partnership with WeddingChannel.com. In addition, Federated will scale back its Macys.com merchandise offerings, eliminating petite, plus-size, career, and swim apparel. At the same time, it will expand selections in its more successful online categories, including bridal, home, gifts, and jewelry.

“The Macy’s by Mail catalog was renamed earlier this year [to Macy’s.com] to become more of a marketing vehicle for the Macy’s Website,” says Federated Department Stores spokesperson Carol Sanger. “This is just a progression of what had begun a year ago.”

What’s more, Sanger says, the Macy’s Website has been the stronger site of the two. “Macy’s was the first site of our two sites to go online selling merchandise,” she says, “and from the outset it has received more investment than has Bloomingdales.com.”

The New York-based Federated Direct has no plans to run any Bloomingdales.com Website closeout sales, Sanger says. And while the last Macy’s.com catalog will drop in January, also without any closeout sales, there are no plans to stop mailing the Bloomingdale’s by Mail catalog.

One hundred technical support, programming, merchandising, and administrative jobs will be cut, and Federated will take a one-time charge of $50 million-$60 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001. Federated Direct chairman Jeffrey Sherman said in a statement that the move will reduce the expected loss and the amount of capital expenditures required for the direct businesses, keeping them on track to break even in 2003.