Stars like Beyonce helped Marshall Field's put on the glam and at least give the illusion that the store is what made State Street that great street.Macy's certainly having a tough time here in Chicago. My mother is a life long Field's shopper and she doesn't like the change because of the selections they currently have. It's not as "top of the line" as it once was.
Even though Marshall Field's was slumping, some shoppers feel like in Macy's, the glam is gone. There is no Dolce and Gabana and no Jimmy Choo.
"It's just a different mindset now,” said shopper Cindy Hearst. “Marshall Field's was the top of the line, so they're going to have to step up a little."
“When they replaced my Field’s card with a Macy's card it in the mail, I cut it up,” said Jenny Llakmani.
Even a year later shoppers characterize the Macy's brand as an out-of-towner with a whole lot of attitude.
“They have alienated a lot of shoppers and a lot of people say they don't want to go back,” said Brandon Glenn of Crain’s Chicago Business.
"They act like they don't like you, like you are bothering them,” said Sofia Felters.
On the street, if you say Macy’s many people think New York, while Marshall Field’s was uniquely Chicago.
“The only thing I've done in Macy's is continued to eat downstairs, which now I find is infested with flies,” said Rebecca, a student.
Since Macy's took over, sales on State Street alone are down about 20 percent, according to McMillan Doolittle, a retail consulting firm in the Loop.
“It's not just about the name, it's the merchandise, it's the service, but a lot of that is nostalgia,” said Keven Wilder of McMillan Doolitte. “But it's definitely been a cheapening of the merchandise that's there."
"Some people will tell you they need to conduct focus groups with their shoppers and figure out what Macy's is doing wrong and Field's did right,” Glenn said.
If they were to hold focus groups, Macy’s could expect an earful.
“I've not set foot in the store,” said Shannon Kelly. “I don't intend to… ever.”
“I've been there twice… dissatisfied with the service, selection and the condition of the store,” said one man in his 50s.
"The staff I talked to are very well trained saying there is going to be new merchandise coming,” Wilder said. “They will not acknowledge there is a problem… they are saying that management is listening to what they have to say.”
When the rumblings of a change started I learned more about Macy's. From what I heard at that time Macy's seemed a like a step down. Though I was rather hoping that it wouldn't happen, It seems that it has.
Also some say that they moved too fast to change the name of the Field's chain. I can agree with that maybe there was a way to save the Marshall Field's name if they had done more studies instead of rushing it. Or who knows perhaps the Field's chain should have been a less expensive cousin of Bloomingdale's.
In any case what's next will we see a return to the famed green shopping bag that I'm actually missing right now? I want to hope so I wish I was one of those movers and shakers who can make this happen or at least do the necessary work to make it happen.