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Macy’s evolution through the decades

Yahoo Finance’s Jared Blikre joins the Live show to recap the evolution of Macy’s through decades.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: It's been a busy few weeks for retail earnings with inventory surpluses and forecast cuts dominating headlines, but we did get better than expected second quarter results from one of America's oldest retailers. That is Macy's. Joining us with a look back at the department store's footprint on American culture is our very own Jared Blikre. Jared.

JARED BLIKRE: That's right, and we are here right now for the latest installment of "Then and Now," looking back at the magic of Macy's. Now, the retailer got its start right here in New York City back in 1858. It was founded by Roland H. Macy, and the store grew during the Civil War.

By the end of the 19th century, Macy's had opened its iconic Herald Square location, which, at the time, was the largest single store in the country. Now after an acquisition in 1892, the department store became a department chain. Building branches across the country, Macy's boomed in the early 20th century.

And we can't talk about Macy's without mentioning the iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And that was started in 1924, a few years after that. Now, Felix the Cat would become the parade's first oversized balloon tethered to a float upside down, marionette-style, as is tradition. Fast forward to the 1980s. Macy's is now a staple in shopping malls across the country.

Also up to its ears in debt back then after some questionable acquisitions and a bankruptcy, Macy's was finally bought by Federated Department Stores in 1994. And eventually, Federated it changed its name to the name listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Of course, that is a name that we know, Macy's, Inc., listing back in 1992. Macy's stock IPO-ed at $11.50. Now if you just have for splits, it's $5.75 per share today. And now, the stock is trading, what, about $10 higher than this, as we look at it on the YFi Interactive.

And Brian, well, you cover Macy's quite a bit. I know you have a lot to say about department store stocks and retailer in particular. We could go over a one-year chart and chart some technicals here, but--

BRIAN SOZZI: Jared, I'll say this. I wonder if 35 years from now, we are even having this conversation. What is the--

JARED BLIKRE: I hope so.

BRIAN SOZZI: Well, personally, we might be here, but my question being is, are these department stores here-- the world continues to move incredibly fast, continues to move on to more-- onto mobile devices. I just don't know if the modern-day department store has a place in this future of retail. And even if it does, does it support Macy's operating hundreds of Bloomingdale's and Macy's stores? Unclear.

JULIE HYMAN: You guys, you know what this conversation was reminding me of, speaking of this? Hecht's. Do you guys remember Hecht's?


JULIE HYMAN: The Hecht company? No? Nobody?


JULIE HYMAN: I think it was based in DC, so maybe it was a mid-Atlantic thing. But my mall, growing up, had a Macy's, a Hecht's, and I believe a Saks. And RIP Hecht, which went out of business in the mid 2000s. But it just shows you that you do have this kind of periodic turnover--

JARED BLIKRE: Well, you said Hecht's, and I was thinking crypto, so yeah, I think it is a sign of the time.



JULIE HYMAN: The Hecht Company.

JARED BLIKRE: That's a different spelling.


JARED BLIKRE: I did learn one-- I did learn one fun fact, thanks to our producer, Devin, who put this together. And that is that the Macy's iconic star was actually a tattoo by the founder, Mr. Macy, himself. And that was because he was on a whaling ship when he was younger. And apparently, the North Star saved them as they were looking for guidance and to return back to port.

BRIAN SOZZI: I have that same Macy's star on my foot, Jared. Zoom in. No, I'm just kidding. Totally kidding.

JARED BLIKRE: I wouldn't be surprised.

BRIAN SOZZI: No, I actually have Kohl's tattooed on my butt. All right, straight ahead, the CEO of Neiman Marcus.