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Markets where both Federated Department Stores and R.H. Macy & Co. compete directly are scattered throughout the U.S., but the overlap is most glaring in New York and New Jersey, Atlanta and suburban Minneapolis.

In some of those markets, stores are expected to be closed or converted to the stronger local chain, say retail industry observers.

Cincinnati-based Federated has eight chains in 26 states; the 230 outlets including Lazarus, Bon Marche, Burdines, Rich's/Goldsmith's, Stern's, Jordan Marsh, Abraham & Straus and Bloomingdale's.

R.H. Macy & Co. has 123 department stores, 90 of them under the name Macy's in markets across the U.S., plus 21 Bullock's and 12 I. Magnin stores. Macy's also operates 107 smaller specialty and clearance stores.

In the Northeast, where Macy's competes head to head with Federated-owned Abraham & Straus, many retail industry observers expect A&S stores in some regional malls to be converted to Macy's stores.

Outside of Minneapolis in Bloomington, Minn., Bloomingdale's and Macy's comprise half of the four department store anchors at the gigantic Mall of America. Under the merger, both would be owned by the same company, but local retail observers say both stores will remain open, and separate.

"There won't be a lot of store closings, but wherever one store owned by the merged company is stronger ... they'll likely close ... one or convert both stores to the stronger name," said Fred Marx, retail analyst with Marx Layne & Co.

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