I agree with @WinstonJamesRick I'd like to add that the stores finally look and seem great thanks to Bufano. However, I think she's about 8-9 years too late, or at least she would have been better than Hoffman. Had she been at the helm instead of Bud and Brendan, I think BONT would be a viable contender. I give props to her.
Those brands no longer exist. Wannamkers went out of business 20 years ago and has never been onwed by Macy's, although they have since leased some locations. Dayton's ceased as an active brand in 2002. Target--not Macy's--owns the Dayton's brand.
Macy's only had three brands of stores. None of these others exist for at least 9 years. Macy's runs, Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury. That's all.
Marshall Field's hasn't existed in 9 years. There are no Marshall Field's stores left after Donald Trump's buddy, the CEO of Macy's, got rid of them. There's a huge boycott with petitions and protest rallies against Macy's by Marshall Field's customers.
Dayton's and Hudson's former locations were purchased by Macy's and run under the Macy's name. The brands are still owned by Macy's competitor Target--Not Macy's.
Most discussed is PE buying Belk and then expanding by picking up BONT on the cheap. Then they run the BONT locations under Belk's superior management and back office.
Problem is a couple of hoops to jump through.
Perhaps a different model would be like what happened with Alberstson's nine years ago, The best stores were sold to SuperValue; the drug stores to CVS and the struggling locations sold to Cerberus. Cerberus liquidated a the worst half for their real estate. Eventually, they repurchased the best stores from SuperValu.
I don't see the Belk family letting the chain get split up--but maybe Macy's could buy the part of BONT where they don't have overlap. Maybe 1/3 of BONT's stores Macy's could pick up some locations in the Great Plains and upper Great Lakes. Iowa, great plains. On the other hand, out east of Chicago, BONT overlaps too much with Macy's. Moreover, I think Macy's wants to hold on more bricks and mortar.
So in short, I think a break up is the only way BONt and BELK might get sold. I don't see Belk wanting to break itself up. BONT is a different story.
I think the new CEO is by far the best that they have had in the past 20 years--but I think it may be too late. If they would have had her 15 years ago, I think that they would be doing great.
I think Macy's has a positive outlook, but I do agree that M really took off when JCP ditched coupons under Ron Johnson and lost customers to Macy's. And now, I think the customers will return to JCP at Macy's expense, but some are gone to Macy's for good.
I think Ron Johnson deserves more credit for M's stock price than does Macy's.
And who really knows what's going on behind the scenes at Macy's? Terry Lundgen is so absolute ahd has been there for close to two decades while the culture at Macy's is very insular. It's just that JCP's culture is worse.
I think if Private equity were to pick up both Belk and BONT, they would have something that could approach national in scale. Belk is great in the South. BONT isn't doing so well but could be picked up cheap and combined with Belk with little or no overlap and a lot of synergies. Or more likely, the Belk side could shore up the BONT stores. It seems only the Great Lakes and Great Plains BONT stores (Carson's, Herberger's) do pretty well.
About 170 of those Belk stores overlap with Macy's locations, Only 130 would give new areas, assuming those 130 stores are good stores. I don't think the deal would work.