Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Last Days of Robinsons-May



We're now just days away until the complete disappearance of the Robinsons-May brand. Macy's officially rebrands the remaining stores on Sept. 9 -- and with that, Los Angeles' era of homegrown department stores ends.

Where's the reaction? Los Angeles has greeted the news with a yawn. Compare that to Chicago, where the city is up in arms about losing a true civic tradition, Marshall Field's (especially its State Street flagship) to Macy's.


Here's the site put together by Chicago's Fields Fans, who are staging a protest on Sept. 9 in a last-hope effort to convince Federated to reverse its decision to kill the Marshall Fields name.

Mitch Glaser has been covering the demise of the Robinsons-May brand since it was first announced last year, and had this to say:

While Macy's is new to many markets, it has been familiar to Southern California shoppers for nearly a decade. Having absorbed both Bullock's and The Broadway, two legendary Los Angeles retailers, Macy's West is now ready to consume Robinsons-May, a regional chain that was itself a product of retail mergers. At its end, Robinsons-May was nearly identical to May's other regional chains but represented the proud histories of predecessors J.W. Robinson's and The May Company.

The end of Robinsons-May has cost the Southern California region thousands of jobs through the closure of its headquarters and more than two dozen stores. In addition, mall operators are faced with the challenge of replacing vacant "anchor" spots at many of their key properties. Furthermore, all consumers are at a disadvantage because there is one less competitor on the retail scene. Yet the rise of Macy's star in the region has garnered little attention from anyone here in Los Angeles.

Across the region, Macy's has already removed the "Robinsons-May" signs off the side of stores, adding in the Macy's sign but temporarily covering it with a sheet that reads "Robinsons-May" (see above). Come Sept. 9, a quick flick of the banner, and the name change will be complete.

(Photo from this Flickr stream.)

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