Jeff Gennette, Macy’s

homeworld players gennetteThe August 15 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 11th Annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Jeff Gennette, Macy’s, President

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: If anyone knows Macy’s, it’s Jeff Gennette. In 1983, he began his retail career as an executive trainee at Macy’s West. He has held a number of executive positions including vp/director of stores at Macy’s Central in Atlanta, chairman/CEO of Seattle-based Macy’s Northwest and chairman/CEO of Macy’s West in San Francisco. In 2009, he was named chief merchandising officer, a position he held until being named president of Macy’s in 2014.

WHAT TO WATCH: The retail world will be watching Gennette as he succeeds longtime Macy’s chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren in the first quarter of 2017. The company previously announced that Lundgren is remaining as executive chairman and will work with Gennette, who will serve as president and CEO. In addition to following Lundgren, Gennette will also need to continue navigating the department store chain through a challenging and changing retail environment.

Macy’s has faced competitive headwinds from e-commerce retailers such as Amazon and the growth of off-price stores including Marshalls and T.J. Maxx. In fact, Macy’s continues to expand its Backstage off-price concept with the opening of stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The company plans to have 22 Backstage locations open by year’s end, and could have as many as 200 off-price stores within five years.

Beyond retail competition, Macy’s is also challenged by consumer shopping patterns, as foot traffic at many malls remains inconsistent. What solutions the retailer develops to attract a higher number of shoppers to its mall-based stores is something that will be watched closely.

PERSPECTIVE: Gennette has acknowledged the challenges ahead for Macy’s. “This is the time to be laser-focused on what is most important to our customers, and how we can best deliver the shopping experience that will secure our position as the premier omnichannel retailer of the future,” he said. “We have successfully navigated through changing customer trends in the past and there is no doubt that Macy’s will need to be a significantly different retailer in the future.”

2017 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):