Macy’s on Wednesday unveiled its first new private label since the revamp of its owned brand strategy, an effort that will continue through 2025. The women’s apparel brand, “On 34th,” will be available starting Aug. 17 at Macy’s stores and online.
The collection has more than 750 SKUs and 250 unique styles, designed to be easily mixed and matched. Prices range from $18.50 to $300, and sizing ranges from XXS to 4X and 0 to 26W, per a company press release. On 34th will add shoes to the spring 2024 collection.
On 34th, a nod to the retailer’s flagship in New York City’s Herald Square, is the first of four new brands to be introduced as part of the effort to add, refresh and replace its private labels, the company said.
Macy’s set its sights on transforming its slate of private labels before the pandemic. In early 2020, the department store, as part of its “Polaris” turnaround strategy, said the portfolio would be refreshed in order to appeal to younger consumers and boost apparel revenue.
The effort got a post-pandemic lift with the arrival of several veterans of Target’s infamously successful private label strategy. In March last year, Macy’s hired Emily Erusha-Hilleque, who led many Target private labels and designer collaborations during two decades in merchandising at Target, and contracted with a brand firm led by former Target designers.
Last year, Macy’s private brand portfolio drove about 16% of brand sales, per Wednesday’s press release. In the past, that percentage has reached as high as about 20%, which the company said “can be achieved longer-term.”
The launch of On 34th is an important milestone in that effort, which ultimately fosters “brand love for Macy’s,” Erusha-Hilleque, now the department store’s senior vice president of private brands, said in a statement.
“On 34th was created with inspirational and modern design, informed by the voice of the customer, and built for real life,” she said. “This new brand is designed by women for women who run their world, with confidence and joy.”
Neither the focus on owned brands nor the hire of Target veterans will guarantee success, however. Bed Bath & Beyond hired Target’s former chief merchant — Mark Tritton, known for his private label prowess at Nordstrom as well — amid a turnaround effort predicated on growing the private portfolio.
That strategy was a bust, however. Tritton left last year as sales plummeted. This year, the retailer sold its flagship and BuyBuy Baby brands, and its stores are in the midst of liquidating under Chapter 11.