One of the key players in Macy’s reinvention plans, brand experience officer and Story’s CEO and founder Rachel Shechtman is among 4,000 employees being let go.
The news was first reported by Retail Dive. Shechtman joined Macy’s in May 2018 as its first brand experience officer, nearly seven years after she founded Story, the experiential, rotating store-within-a-store concept. Shechtman described the Story model at its launch as “a real life version of scrolling through Instagram.” By April 2019, Macy’s had launched the format in 36 locations across 15 states. However, earlier this year, Macy’s shuttered 125 stores, including half of its Story experiences.
The February store closings and elimination of 2,000 jobs were part of Macy’s plans to save hundreds of millions of dollars to help adapt to an increasingly competitive and evolving retail landscape. The pandemic, which forced Macy’s stores to close in mid-March, only accelerated this most recent round of job losses.
Macy’s launched Story in 2019, one year after buying the company, to give customers a reason to keep coming back to its stores, chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette said at the time. The rotating themes were designed to keep the 1,500-square-foot section of the department store fresh.
After implementing the Story model at Macy’s locations, Shechtman also helped create another brand and retail store. Launched at the end of February, Market by Macy’s is an off-mall and standalone, 20,000-square-foot pilot store in Southlake, Texas, designed to host community-driven programming and sell local Texas brands, as well as new home brands such as Getchell’s Apothecary and Herald.
Story wasn’t the only company Macy’s tapped to revive its status in the retail landscape. It was also part of the $19 million Series B round of funding for b8ta, another retail concept that focuses specifically on tech products.