The American retailing industry is witnessing the absorption of The May Department Stores Company ["May"] into the Federated Department Store group of companies. Pending federal approval, Federated will sell off as many as 68 May stores after the upcoming holiday season is complete. How this plan will affect shoppers is only beginning to now be realized.
When Federated announced their interest in acquiring May earlier this year, not too many people were surprised. Yes, the size of the acquisition is huge and some wondered aloud how Federated would fit May into the fold, especially with a huge overlap of store brands and locations. Still, Federated was looking at the merger as an opportunity to expand their venerable Macy's name to areas of the country not served by the chain.
With the pending acquistion we know the following:
It has been forecast that federal approval will given by the end of the third quarter, just in time for the big holiday shopping season. Federated's present to itself this Christmas season will be a bigger retail family to support; time will tell if consumers "buy into" the expanded retail giant or go elsewhere in search of other opportunities, especially in the heartland where the Macy's brand is currently unavailable.
Regardless, 2006 will shape up as a year of change with recognized store brand names such as Filene's disappearing and with the Macy's name expanding. Let's see how the American consumer reacts!