Macy's has incorporated its Story retail concept into 36 stores nationwide in 15 states: five each in California and New York; four in New Jersey; three each in Florida, Ohio and Texas; two each in Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington; and one in Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada and Washington D.C., according to a company press release.
The concept features a rotating set of merchandise based on a theme, which for the national debut is "Color." Brands this go-round include more than 70 small businesses and more than 400 products. They include an online kidswear brand Primary (making its brick-and-mortar debut), Los Angeles-based chocolatier Compartes, MAC Cosmetics, Crayola and Levi's Kids, among others.
Except at the department store's Herald Square flagship, where Story occupies 7,500 square feet on the main floor and mezzanine levels, the Story spaces average 1,500 square feet, the company said.
Macy's bought Story, a retail concept based on a magazine, with themes changing up every month, about a year ago, and has wasted little time in scaling it.
Although some analysts believe the company has more stores to close after shuttering 100 in the last couple years, its size is one of its most important assets, Jill Ramsey, who joined a little over a year ago as the retailer's chief product and digital revenue officer, told a Shoptalk keynote audience last month.
Indeed, the expansion of Story across the country took more than 300 Macy's employees, Rachel Shechtman, Story's founder and now Macy's brand experience officer, said in a statement. The company also tapped the expertise of several outside vendors for an intentional approach to designing the look and flow of the spaces, including New York City-based designer David Stark, Flor flooring company and Italian fixture company Alu, according to the release.
A key element of Stark's work is "a giant interactive Lite-Brite experience produced by LiteZilla and an illuminated rainbow tunnel featuring colorful Tetra Contour technology from Current by GE," the company said, highlighting the number of "Instagram-able moments" within the concept.
Story and its participating brands are also staging several hands-on experiences. MAC, for example, is offering beauty classes from makeup artists and is bringing in its "Make Your Own" palette station to 30 of the Story locations. Crayola will offer various workshops, including opportunities to create custom patches for the Levi's Kids apparel.
"The STORY at Macy's experience feels a lot like a real life version of scrolling through Instagram," Shechtman said. "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."