PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – First built in 1887 and expanded in 1913 as Kaufmann’s, the downtown building now known as Macy’s hasn’t changed much until now.
“What we’re doing is reorganizing the merchandise and departments in that store in a way a more concise physical space so that it’s easier to shop for the customer and easier to find merchandise,” Macy’s senior vice president Jim Sluzewski told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano.
Nine floors of shopping will become six – still double the size of the suburban Macy’s.
“I don’t think it will have any effect, if they still have the same selection,” says Macy’s shopper Rachel Hawili of Hampton. “I’ll still shop here.”
Macy’s officials say the store will be more user-friendly.
“If you want to look at furniture, you don’t have to take the escalators or the elevators all the way up to the 8th floor or the 10th floor,” Sluzewski says. “That merchandise will now largely be on five and six, for example.”
“You’ll be able to find more stuff because you won’t have to climb so high,” says Harriet Jordan of Sharpsburg who likes the consolidation.
“This is actually my favorite Macy’s location. The service is really stellar here,” adds Lynn Hyde of Uptown.
Although it turns a profit, Macy’s Sluzewski says right-sizing is key to keeping the store downtown.
“We really want to be part of that community going forward, but in order to do that most effectively we really need a store that has the right amount of space.”
As for future uses of the upper floors, Macy’s is open to ideas.
The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has one, notes Jerry Waldrup, the new CEO of the Partnership.
“The residential market here in downtown Pittsburgh has doubled over the last 10 years,” says Waldrup. “As a newcomer to downtown Pittsburgh, trying to find a rental apartment here downtown is quite difficult.”
None of the 363 employees at the downtown Macy’s will be laid off as a result of this change.
The changes, which have begun now, should be completed in October, just in time for the Christmas shopping season.