Macy’s is preparing to open a new concept at the Dayton Mall, which is part of a growing trend of bargain retail stores.
Backstage will open June 2 on the second floor of the Macy’s department store.
Backstage is an off-price store, meaning it sells brands at bargain prices and will compete with other retailers using similar business models like TJ Maxx, Ross and Nordstrom Rack.
Kevin Shibley, vice president store manager at Macy’s Dayton Mall, said during a tour of the new store the goal of the new Backstage store is to attract “a younger, more diverse customer that is looking for the fast fashion at a great value” as well as draw in shoppers with some of the items not sold at the traditional Macy’s store like children’s shoes, toys and home decor.
Cincinnati-based Macy’s is among department stores trying to reinvent themselves amid the upheaval in the retail industry from online shopping and changing consumer habits.
Off-price concepts have been hailed as a way to shore up retail sales and draw online customers back to brick-and-mortar stores.
Off-price stores are not as easily replaced by online shopping as traditional stores, because the off-price stores have a wide inventory of clothing and goods but only a handful of each item. They are designed for customers attracted to hunting for bargains at a store with a fast moving inventory.
“Off-price is growing and it’s hard to replicate online, so the thrill of the hunt is the biggest piece and the best way to do it is to shop in person,” said Carolyn Ng, Macy’s director of media relations.
Moody’s Investors Service stated in October that off-price retailers “will remain among the top performers in the U.S. retail industry over the next 12-18 months.”
“Off-price retailers continue to outperform other sectors of the US retail industry largely because they offer the kind of lower-cost, higher-value products and shopping experience many consumers are looking for,” stated Moody’s analyst Christina Boni.
The Dayton Mall store is under renovation and will take up about 12,900 square feet when open. A building permit valued the renovation work at about $75,000.
The grand opening on June 2 will include giveaways for the first 200 customers and special events throughout the day.
There are different buying teams for Backstage and for Macy’s larger stores, so they have different items for sale. Backstage doesn’t use coupons or have sales, but is marketed as having prices that don’t require waiting for a sale.
Macy’s has ambitious growth plans for Backstage and said earlier this year that it will open 100 more Backstage stores in 2018.
By the end of June, the state of Ohio will have a total of 6 Backstage locations in the following markets: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.
Backstage’s growth has been not only translating into more shopping options for consumers, but it’s also meant more jobs.
Macy’s plans to build a new 400-employee distribution center near Columbus to cater to these outlet stores in Ohio, creating more than 400 jobs. There were 10 additional people hired to work at Backstage’s Dayton Mall location.