Why Macy’s Is Betting on an Unlikely Partnership With Miracle-Gro and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Macy’s has unveiled its second experiential concept, “Outdoor,” in its 36 locations across the country.

The latest theme, produced in collaboration with Dick’s Sporting Goods and plant food brand Miracle-Gro, opens today and runs until September.

Story at Macy's: Outdoor, the retailer's second experiential concept.
The concept brings the outdoors indoors in collaboration with Dick’s Sporting Goods and Miracle-Gro.
CREDIT: Macy's

“I think people may be surprised and intrigued by our partnerships, and that is exactly what we wanted,” said Rachel Shechtman, Macy’s brand experience officer and Story founder. “We want to show both consumers as well as businesses that collaboration is the new competition. Bringing together brands as storytellers to add authority and authenticity to a subject matter, like we are doing with Dick’s and Miracle-Gro, benefits both the customer and the business.”

For the second launch, the greenery-laden stores will feature merchandise from more than 70 brands as well as programs like indoor gardening workshops and kayaking on the Hudson River.

Additionally, makeshift greenhouses with lighting by Current by GE and 14-year-old “Shark Tank” entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer’s Me & the Bees lemonade stand will take over Macy’s Herald Square flagship.

Outdoor Story marks the first partnership of its kind for Macy’s and Dick’s, which showcases its own private brands, Alpine Design and Field & Stream, outside of its own stores. In the fall, the retailer will also debut Greendigs, a new online brand with a selection of plants and other plant-care items.

Macy’s acquired New York City concept shop Story last May as it made a push toward more experiential retail. The move came at a trying time for the industry, which has seen the decline and downsizing of department store chains and specialty retailers in the past few years amid Amazon’s growing dominance and shifting consumer spending patterns.

Over the past two years, Macy’s has also cut down on floor space, revamped inventory and ditched scores of underperforming stores. The retailer is now betting on Story’s ability to engage with customers who are increasingly seeking experiences over products and often require added enticements to lure them away from digital shopping.

Every few months, the space at Macy’s will undergo an inventory and interior design overhaul to highlight a new theme. Story’s Chelsea outpost continues to operate as usual.

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