Bethany Clough

Macy’s too expensive? Part of Fresno store will transform into new low-cost concept

Consider it a discount version of Macy’s.

Part of the Macy’s at Fresno’s Fashion Fair mall will become the chain’s low-cost store-within-a-store concept called Macy’s Backstage. It will take up 14,000 square feet inside Macy’s Men’s and Children’s.

It opens Saturday, May 18.

Macy’s is adding the Backstage concept to stores around the country. More than 190 stores already have it, with Visalia getting one last year.

The children’s department is being moved to the main Macy’s store on the west end of the mall to make room for the new store.

Macy’s Backstage will have prices on par with T.J.Maxx or Ross, according to a Macy’s spokeswoman.

It has its own team of buyers, so you won’t find the same brands at Backstage as you would in the main store, the spokeswoman said.

Backstage will feature men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. It will also carry housewares, including home decor, and cosmetics, hair and nail care items, jewelry, toys, shoes and designer handbags.

One thing that makes the Fresno Macy’s Backstage different: It will carry children’s shoes. That could fill a void at the mall left by the closing Payless Shoesource.

Backstage will have regular cashiers, but customers can also use the Macy’s app to scan and pay for their purchases themselves. They would show a receipt on their phone screens when leaving the store.

Macy’s says it hopes customers will shop both the discount Backstage and the regular version of its stores.

When Macy’s was rolling out the Backstage stores in 2018, one retail analyst credited the change for boosting sales at the company.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said then in an email to The Bee: “It is notable that Backstage is being opened in premium locations, which we believe is a sign of the company’s growing confidence in the format. … however, we still have some concerns over the long-term impact on both the brand and full-price sales – especially if the consumer economy starts to falter.”

The Fresno Macy’s Backstage opens with a grand opening event at 9 a.m. May 18. There will be giveaways for the first 100 customers in line and a DJ.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.