NEW YORK — The buzz is building.
As Macy’s prepares for the August unveiling of its new flagship shoe floor — slated to be the world’s largest at 63,000 square feet upon completion — the department store has appointed an executive to lead the charge.
Lisa Richards, the new VP and store manager of women’s shoes, will oversee the day-to-day operations of the department, from customer service and sales associate management to merchandise presentations and stock replenishment.
“The [flagship] renovation is focusing on our key signature businesses, and our shoe department is first up,” said Patti Lee, district VP of Macy’s Herald Square. “Lisa is a reflection of Macy’s deep pool of executive talent. She combines a merchant’s understanding of the shoe business with a strong background in operational execution and people development.”
Richards was most recently regional merchandise execution director for women’s shoes in Chicago and has held various sales and merchant positions for the company.
She told Footwear News her aim is for the new department, which will stock 300,000 pairs of shoes, to be not only the biggest but the best. The space will feature new luxury shoe shops, a designer salon and curated footwear “closets” inspired by New York’s trendiest neighborhoods, as well as a coffee, champagne and chocolate bar.
“Not only will the shopping environment be over the top but the new technology, assortment mix, customer service and shopping events will make us the premier shoe-shopping destination,” Richards said.
She added that customer service is the retailer’s No. 1 priority.
“We are committed to being less bogged down with paperwork and more present on the selling floor interfacing with customers,” Richards said. “We take our customer feedback seriously, learning from our mistakes and helping our team improve daily. … We’ve made incredible discoveries on sizing, colors, styles and timing of goods, just by taking action on customer requests.”
In addition to the footwear floor, other first-stage renovations for the New York flagship include dramatic changes to the main floor, mezzanine and second levels, as well as all Broadway entrances, which are slated for completion by November 2012.
All told, the $400 million, multiyear renovation project, first announced last November, will add an extra 100,000 square feet of selling space to the flagship, bringing its total retail space to 1.2 million square feet.