Macy's launches new brands to target millennials

Associated Press Modified: October 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm •  Published: October 18, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Macy's is firing its first salvo at the millennials.

The venerable department store chain is launching 13 new brands and expanding 10 other existing labels that it believes will resonate with shoppers in that 13-to-30 age group.

The roster includes an exclusive Marilyn Monroe fashion collection and a men's T-shirt line from an upstart called Fatal Clothing, which specializes in tattoo-influenced designs. The chain also will be offering a collection of runway-inspired fashions that will change monthly.

The new fashion offerings, which are being rolled out this fall and next spring, represent the first phase of the retailer's intensive campaign to attract the highly sought-after group.

The millennials generation is the first to grow up with cellphones and the Internet and its members are accustomed to getting fast access to anything they want.

In March, Macy's restructured its merchandise team to focus on those shoppers and plans to make other major changes in the next three years to further rope them in. Those range from infusing tablets and other technology into the shopping experience to changing displays more frequently.

The intense focus comes as Macy's and other retailers are paying more attention to members of the generation who are entering their peak earnings and spending years.

The Boston Consulting Group defines millennials as being between ages 16 to 34, and says that in the U.S. they numbered about 79 million last year. By 2030, they are expected to far outnumber baby boomers, 78 million to 56 million.

And they're a challenging bunch. The tech-savvy group likes to spend and it likes brands, but shops differently.

Boston Consulting Group released a study earlier this year based on a survey of about 4,000 millennials. The research showed millennials trust their Facebook friends more than corporate ads or experts, and tend to favor spending at specialty stores, discount stores, online or outlet stores. And they put a premium on speed and convenience.

Christine Barton, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group, says the department stores have a big opportunity to grab this customer, but they need to "refreshen their franchise." Millennial females spend one third more on clothing than those in the 35 to 74 age range — regardless of income or race. Male millennials spend twice as much on clothing per year than men in previous generations.

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