I was a buyer for Macy’s at 25. I was responsible for a segment of Macy’s business. My biz was one of five that made up a department. That was run by a department head, a segment of 5-8 other department heads who reported directly to the four VPs who reported to the President. Macy’s no longer runs like this, which is unfortunate. This was on the buying side. There was a store side too.
I learned how to run a business and how not to. The way my boss ran the department was by paying it forward. His bad mistakes were not fungible because the mistakes were around private labels that we owned forever until a customer bought them.
The brilliance of Macy’s, in the day, was markdown money. Hopefully, you get promoted or leave before the cards come tumbling down. Everything is sustainable until it isn’t.
As a buyer, if a vendor I purchased from didn’t make their sale numbers because you were supposedly partners, ha, it would cost them. The buyer would go to the vendor and tell them what it would cost them for items that did not sell. It was the only way to run a profitable business based on how Macy’s ran. Sometimes the vendor would give all cash, and most of the time, it was cash and cash off the orders for the next season. Pushing it forward but how long can that last?
Businesses that lose money are not popular as they once were. They will continue to get more unpopular. Cycles happen; it feels like we are entering a cycle towards profitability. That is not such a bad thing.