Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shoppers Check out Macy's Backstage

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shoppers Check out Macy's Backstage

Article excerpt

Bergen County shoppers now have a chance to see how Macy's does off-price, with the opening in Paramus of a Macy's Backstage, a new concept Bergen County shoppers helped shape.

The Backstage store, in 23,000 square feet on the third floor of the Macy's department store at Paramus Park mall, opens officially on Saturday, but it began letting customers make purchases Thursday, in a soft, or unannounced, opening.

Macy's opened its first Backstage stores a year ago, and like other department store chains, such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, is looking to the off-price model to increase sales.

The store layout, design and philosophy reflects comments made by Bergen shoppers when Macy's conducted focus groups two years ago to explore launching an off-price division.

"Bergen County was one of our original focus groups," said Vanessa LeFebvre, senior vice president of Macy's Backstage. The company reached out to both Macy's shoppers and non-Macy's shoppers in Bergen County, she said, and learned they look for certain things in an off-price shopping experience.

"They want it to be neat, efficient, clean, orderly, simple," said LeFebvre, but also with the you-never-know-what-you-will-find surprises beloved by bargain hunters.

Minutes after the store began accepting customers Thursday morning, Jose Carrion of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., bought something he wasn't planning to buy, but decided was too good to pass up.

Carrion was the first paying customer at the store, buying a foldable commuter bicycle for $160, including tax.

"That's a $400 bike," said Carrion, who was in the store because he is part of the IT team that supports the technology at Macy's stores.

Finding a surprise buy is what off-price shopping is all about, LeFebvre said, and the reason why Macy's Backstage stores are stocked with housewares, toys and sporting equipment in addition to clothing. …

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