More important, perhaps, was Lundgren's very aggressive decision to go "omnichannel" and to mean it, meaning that Macy's was going to adopt "a can't beat them, join them, and then figure out a way to beat them" approach to the Web. Now Macy's, because of all of its marketing power, offers great prices for premium proprietary product right on the Web. You can then pick it up, or Macy's can send it to you, or you can return it using the physical store presence. For those of us who shop online, we know the bane of our existence is the "return." If we don't like it, what are we supposed to do? Shlep down to the UPS (UPS) or Container Store (TCS) or something?
Macy's has a solution to that, as it does for getting the merchandise to you from another store that might have more inventory of a particular item. I am sure the northern stores were busy helping out the southern stores with cold-weather-apparel inventory -- that is, if they had enough left to dole out to the south, given the brutal weather.
And the layoffs? As with everything Macy's does, this is about technology and streamlining trumping overhead and excess labor costs -- making tech do more with less. Oh, and just like everything else Macy's does, the shareholders will reap the rewards. One of the best chief financial officers out there, Karen Hoguet, will be sure to plough the savings into the right portion of the capital structure, and hopefully a share buyback, given that the stock only sells at 11x this year's number.
Bed Bath, on the other hand, seems to have been caught flat-footed by the Internet, and it still has no real strategy to deal with it, as was painfully obvious from the always-truncated conference call. The company's answer to the slash in comps growth? Opaque, except perhaps for a strategy of more couponing. Bed Bath is a terrific bricks-and-mortar retailer but, as Lundgren tells you, that's not enough in a world that's so rapidly migrating to the Web.
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How good are Macy's and Lundgren? The retailer stocks have been going down ever since Howard Schultz from Starbucks (SBUX) told us about a secular decline in shopping-mall traffic that he saw at holiday time. Mall-based Macy's saw it coming, too. Like Schultz and Starbucks, it has come up with its own defense, and offense, to combat that decline in a positive way for believing shareholders.
At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long M.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 7:32 a.m. EST on Real Money on Jan. 9.