In 2020, Santa Claus will not be visiting Macy’s stores. This is a break in 159-year-old holiday tradition. Because of the threat of the coronavirus, Santa meet and greets will not be taking place this year. The tradition began in 1861. Macy’s has created an interactive virtual experience.
“To recreate the magic experience of Macy’s Santaland visit for children and their parents, we will shift our focus to a virtual engagement in this year’s Macy’s vice-president of branded entertainment,” Susan Tercero said in a press release.
From Nov. 27 through Dec. 24, the virtual Santa experience will be online. Macy’s will limit how many children can participate in the personalized experience. Only three children can be enrolled at a time.
Total Retail’s View: It’s sad that a holiday tradition so many families have loved over the years has ended (at least for 2020), but it’s not surprising. Macy’s decided that it was too risky to offer the normal Santaland experience. This included children sitting at Santa’s feet and telling him what gifts they want this year. Retailers must make customer safety a top priority this holiday season as they attempt to entice customers back into their stores. Macy’s announced that it will not offer an in-person Santa experience, but some malls have moved ahead with their plans. Brookfield Properties, which is the country’s second largest mall operator, announced that Santa will be visiting 134 of its 150 malls. Santa will still be behind the plexiglass. Rocell Viniard from Brookfield Properties, director of portfolio market, said that the “touchless experience with Santa” will be “a drive-up type of scenario.” COVID-19 is another blow for struggling Macy’s. It will end one of the largest foot traffic generators of this year, if not the greatest.
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Carter’s will Close at Most 200 Stores
Carter’s will permanently close hundreds of stores. Today, the children’s accessories and apparel retailer, Carter’s, announced that it will close 25% of its brick-and mortar fleet. This is approximately 200 locations. Carter’s CEO Michael Casey told analysts that almost 60 percent of these outposts would likely close by next year, and 80 percent by 2022. Carter’s currently has about 850 stores across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. They are under the OshKosh B’Gosh name.
Total Retail’s View: Carter’s has made the strategic decision to close its unprofitable stores. Many of these stores are located in smaller shopping centers. The children’s clothing brand is changing the direction of its physical retail stores and will now choose outposts closer to customers that can better serve omnichannel customers. Carter’s, for example, wants to take advantage of the growing demand for services like curbside pickup and buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS), which are closely integrated with its ecommerce business. Carter’s isn’t abandoning brick-and-mortar retailers. Carter’s believes there is an opportunity to grow that segment of the business.
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Casey stated that “as other retailers struggle and reduce their retail footprint, we are able to pursue new and better real estate opportunities.” It’s a buyers market and we intend to seek out better opportunities in better locations that offer convenience for our customers and high returns on our shareholders’ investments.