Hal Lawton Leaves Macy’s, Taking Omnichannel Expertise to Tractor Supply Company

Retail president to lead Tennessee-based company as CEO

Hal Lawton is known for omnichannel experience.
Under Lawton's leadership, Macy's has become and omnichannel retailer. Cindy Ord—Getty Images for Fashion Scholarship Fund
Headshot of Kathryn Lundstrom

Macy’s announced today that Hal Lawton, president of the 161-year-old retailer, is resigning, effective Friday. After two years with Macy’s, Lawton will be taking over as CEO of Tennessee-based Tractor Supply Company.

“Hal has made significant contributions to the business over the past two years, including improving the Macy’s operational cadence. Hal also helped us build an excellent team and, with their leadership, I’m confident that Macy’s will continue strong execution through Holiday 2019 and beyond,” said Macy’s chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette in a statement. “I thank Hal for his service and wish him and his family well on the next leg of their journey.”

Lawton has overseen Macy’s during a push to modernize as an omnichannel retailer, bringing technology like cashier-less shopping, virtual reality and RFID into the storied department store. Under his leadership, Macy’s also acquired a minority stake in retail-as-a-service startup b8ta in 2018 and partnered with the company to scale its The Market @ Macy’s concept.

But despite the tech-forward retail innovations, Macy’s has been plagued by the decline in shopping malls and rise of Amazon and DTC brands. The department store had close to $25 billion in sales in 2018, but that’s been mostly shrinking over the last several years. Macy’s closed 13 of its more than 800 stores this year.

“After conducting a robust search process, the Board is convinced Hal Lawton is the right CEO to build on Tractor Supply’s success and lead the next stage of the Company’s growth,” said Tractor Supply board chairman Cynthia Jamison in another statement. “Hal is a proven leader with a unique omnichannel experience to deliver on our customer’s evolving expectations as we look to the future of retail.”

Tractor Supply Company is a “rural lifestyle retailer” founded in 1938. The company operates more than 1,800 stores nationwide and brings in annual revenue of around $7.9 billion.

“I am extremely excited and honored to join Tractor Supply as I have long admired the Company for its strong brand and focus on serving the Out Here lifestyle,” Lawton said in a statement. “Greg and the team have built a tremendous company culture, and I look forward to an exciting future and continuing to drive growth and shareholder value.”

Lawton previously held positions as svp of eBay North America and svp of merchandising at Home Depot.

@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.