Power Players 2009

Peter Sachse of Macy's Is Ad Age's No. 18 Power Player

Investment in Celebrity Product Lines Creates Halo for the Retailer

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Last Year
THE POWER: As retail's top spender, Macy's is a force in the marketing world, and Peter Sachse is pulling the strings. The country's largest department store plays host to iconic events like the Thanksgiving Day Parade and Fourth of July Fireworks and spends a load on advertising, making it a constant presence for consumers. Macy's has also taken celebrity partnerships to a new level, with its now ubiquitous spots, featuring Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, Usher and others whose lines are carried at the store. The 2-year-old strategy has raised awareness of the celebrity lines and created a halo for Macy's other brands, execs have said.

THE NUMBERS: Macy's tallied nearly $25 billion in sales last year. Though, thanks to the pullback in consumer spending, that was down from more than $26 billion the year before. In the first half, Macy's recorded more than $10 billion in sales. The retailer counts more than 800 doors in 45 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. In 2008, Macy's spent $982 million on measured media; first-half outlay was down 13% to $355 million.

THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Martine Reardon, exec VP-marketing, is Peter's right-hand woman, running point on the company's major marketing campaigns, as well as overseeing public relations and annual events.

THE CHALLENGE: Consumers have been snapping their wallets shut in the midst of the recession. And this holiday season will prove no different, with the National Retail Federation projecting a 1% decline in overall holiday sales. Department store traffic is expected to be off slightly as well, as consumers choose to complete their holiday shopping trips at discounters. If Macy's hopes to get shoppers in the holiday spirit, it will need to present them with appealing promotions and creative marketing.

THE AGENCIES: WPP's JWT, New York, handles the retailer's splashy, star-studded TV spots, while sibling Mediaedge:cia is responsible for media buying. Omnicom's Rapp handles digital marketing and loyalty marketing.

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