Macy's in St. Paul will close on Sundays

  • Article by: JANET MOORE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 18, 2012 - 10:17 PM

The retrenchment is intended to focus the store on downtown office-worker traffic.

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Macy’s financial agreement with St. Paul to keep its downtown store open is set to expire at the end of this year.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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The long-struggling St. Paul Macy's store said Wednesday it will close on Sundays and pare back its daily hours in a new strategy aimed at better serving the capital city's downtown business customers.

At the same time, the store at 411 Cedar St. will add 12 workers to its current roster of 137 employees. The beefed-up staffing will be on the selling floor during high-traffic periods -- from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and between 4 and 6 p.m. The store's new hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning in late June.

Macy's is targeting the 75,000 office workers and residents in downtown St. Paul, according to Andrea Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the New York-based department store chain. "We really weren't seeing much traffic on Sundays; the bulk of our traffic is on weekdays," she said.

The store will also tailor its merchandise mix to include more business-friendly goods, including women's career collections, shoes, hosiery, handbags as well as men's business collections, shoes and basics. There will also be a larger selection of watches, luggage, briefcases and milestone and anniversary gifts.

Rumors about the fate of the small St. Paul Macy's store have circulated for years.

Come Dec. 31, the store will be released from a key financial obligation with the city of St. Paul. In 2001, in an effort to keep what was then a Dayton's department store, the city gave the retailer a $6.3 million forgivable loan. In exchange, the retailer agreed to stay through 2012. Leaving sooner would require Macy's to pay back the loan with interest -- about $6.9 million.

"I actually see this as a positive sign," said Ned Rukavina, senior director-retail, at Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq in Bloomington. "They probably looked at their customer traffic and asked themselves, 'How can we make this work better?'"

But retail analysts have been more pessimistic because the rise of specialty stores and low-cost retailers have threatened the traditional department store.

Janet Moore • 612-673-7752

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