By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
November 20, 2017

Good morning.

Millions of Americans on Thursday will start their day by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, a 93 year-old tradition with a hold on American culture that’s as strong as ever. The company that sponsors that parade, however, is losing its grip. The company’s stock price has fallen over 70% since the summer of 2015, it has closed more than 100 stores, and despite the trimming, same-store sales have sunk steadily over the past three years.

Can the nation’s most iconic department store be revived? That’s the job facing Jeff Gennette, who became Macy’s CEO last March. Fortune’s Phil Wahba profiles him and his plans in the December issue of the magazine, and we are releasing his story online here this morning.

The challenge isn’t a simple one. Gennette has to try and reestablish Macy’s as a high end trendsetter, but also cater to shoppers who insist on discounts. “Threading that needle,” says Wahba, “may prove to be as difficult as shimmying down a chimney flue with a sack full of toys.”

Macy’s has done a decent job building its e-commerce business in recent years. Its $4.3 billion in annual online sales make it sixth nationwide. But it still faces the constant threat overhanging all retailers: Some 47% of its apparel shoppers also buy clothing from The next six weeks will be critical in determining whether Gennette can begin to execute a turnaround, or will follow in the footsteps of Sears. (Does anyone really still shop at Sears?)

Meanwhile, speaking of retail turnarounds, Walmart shares soared to an all-time high last week, thanks to its report showing same store sales for U.S. stores climbed for the 13th quarter in a row, and e-commerce sales were up 50%. I’ll be interviewing Walmart CEO Doug McMillon at the New York Economic Club on Tuesday (former Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren, chairman of the club, will be presiding). If you have questions for McMillon, send them my way.

More news below.


Alan Murray


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