Blog Post

As Macy’s Stores Went Away, So Did Its Newspaper Ads

Aside from classified advertising, retail advertising is one of the pillars of newspaper advertising. But as Alan Mutter points out, citing data from TNS and AdAge, Macy’s has cut the amount of newspaper ad spending in half over the past four years. While classified ad dollars have largely shifted to online sites like Craigslist, Macy’s migration away from newspapers has more to do with specific business decisions that make it difficult to imagine newspapers recapturing those lost retail dollars.

Back to 2005: When Macy’s, then known as Federated, merged with Mays department stores in 2005, the two were buying a combined $1.2 billion worth of newspaper ads. At that time, Macy’s operated about 400 stores, while May’s ran roughly 500. Three years later, the combined entity, which has roughly 800 stores, spent just $583.3 million with newspapers, a drop of 51.4 percent. That decline reflected two things: a cutback in stores combined with cost slashing all around. After the merger was complete, Macy’s closed a number of “redundant” stores across the country, which hit local papers hard. This past January, Macy’s said it would close another 11 stores nationwide, AP reported at the time.

Going national: In addition to store closings, since the merger, Macy’s strategy is focused on making the department store chain more of a national brand — shutting off the individual identities that sometimes meant multiple Sunday inserts for different brands. That alsp has meant a shift from local newspapers to more TV and magazines. That change has been starkly reflected in Macy

One Response to “As Macy’s Stores Went Away, So Did Its Newspaper Ads”

  1. Paul Camp

    And how is that strategy working for Macy's and other retailers for that matter?

    Macy's same store sales are down 8.9% in June. the stock price hovers around $10, down from the mid-$20s a year ago and $40s two years ago. Once upon a time the formula during a recession was to spend more on advertising and marketing in order to increase share of market. Today the opposite strategy seems in vogue. Only time will tell who wins share and how during this recession, but so far Macy's does not seem to be winning the war and might find innovative campaigns like those used in newspapers and online for the holidays last year to be of great benefit this fall.