Macy’s Launches Story, an Instagram-Friendly Retail Concept, in 36 Locations

The theme and layout changes every few months

The Story concept is rolling out across Macy's stores in 15 states, from Kentucky to Ohio. Macy's
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Macy’s unveiled Story today, a new type of store format in 36 retail locations, spread out over 15 states.

The roll out comes about a year after Macy’s acquired Story, a retail concept that focuses on a particular theme and changes up the products and layout every few months. Staying true to its roots, this first iteration of Story is dubbed “Color Story,” and runs from now through May 26. The following month, a new theme rolls out.

“The discovery-led, narrative experience of Story gives new customers a fresh reason to visit our stores and gives the current Macy’s customer even more reason to come back again and again throughout the year,” said Jeff Gennette, chairman and CEO of Macy’s in a statement.

Each Story concept takes up about 1,500 square feet in Macy’s stores, except for the flagship location in Herald Square, New York, which is using more than 7,500 square feet between the first and mezzanine floor. The New York location is an Instagram dream, with everything from an LED ping pong table to an interactive Lite-Brite design. Local New York companies like Fun Socks and Izipizi are part of the Story roll out in Herald Square.

“The Story at Macy’s experience feels a lot like a real life version of scrolling through Instagram,” said Rachel Shechtman, founder of  Story and Macy’s brand experience officer in a statement. “You discover things you weren’t looking for, but are inspired by all the fun finds—the second you see it, you need it! We aspire to create that feeling with the breadth of the narrative-driven merchandise edit we are bringing to life with the launch of Story at Macy’s across the country.”

In total, Macy’s says it worked with more than 70 brands to bring Color Story to life. Some of those brands include MAC, which has a “build your own palette” area and Levi’s, which is giving customers a sneak peek of its Levi’s and Crayola collaboration for kids. In a statement, Macy’s added that it hired more than 270 “story managers” to train them on talking to customers and actually building out a Story space.

Story isn’t the only company Macy’s is working with to revive its 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 (and offering retail as a service to brands).

It’s a vital time for the brand to focus on upgrading its retail experience. According to UBS, if ecommerce sales grow to 25% of the total shopping market share by 2026, 75,000 stores will need to close—including 21,000 clothing stores.

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.