But the department store retailer has several firsts in the mix this year designed to boost its sales -- including new pickup and same-day delivery programs, along with an eye toward more unique vendors shops in 2015.
"This is the first year we have been able to have this available in all of our stores, we tested it at the end of last year in one market, now we have it across the board," said Macy's chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren to TheStreet about its buy-online, pick-up-in-store program it refers to as "BOPS".
"What we are finding, if it's a garment item they want to try it on, just to make sure that the size fits them. This is fantastic because that reduces the likelihood of a product that doesn't work for the customer -- once customers come in the stores, they are often buying something else," added Lundgren.
It's also the first year Macy's has a same-day delivery service. "So far so good," said Lundgren on the performance of the service early on in the holiday shopping season.
"What we have found is that when a customer is saying they want to buy this particular item, if we know we have it in stock, we now have the capability of getting it to them the same day, so we aren't disappointing anybody. It's going quite well. I feel good about this," Lundgren remarked.
The company's same-day delivery pilots are up and running in eight major Macy's markets -- Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The service for Bloomingdale's is available in four markets -- Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose.
Macy's has said deliveries to customers will be powered by Deliv, a crowdsourced same-day delivery provider, in collaboration with major mall owners such as General Growth Properties (GGP) , Macerich (MAC) , Simon Property Group (SPG) and Westfield.
The collection of new service and pickup options, including a buy-online, ship-from-store program available for all stores, are attempts by Macy's to meet every possible need of a mobile-phone-toting customer. If those needs are consistently met, Macy's same-store sales and profit growth will become that much stronger over time.
Ultimately, Macy's still has to keep its large, physical stores exciting so customers order the merchandise to be sent through its new delivery options. The retailer has started to do that by transforming the sales floor to include specialty shops from household-name companies like Nike (NKE) , Under Armour (UA) and Lids, a division of Genesco (GCO) .
One of the first shops to launch were those from specialty sneaker retailer Finish Line (FINL) in 2013, in which Macy's collects a licensing fee.
"We've been very pleased where we have added these shops," pointed out Lundgren when asked about the performance of its Finish Line shops that live in hundreds of Macy's locations. "We brought in Finish Line, and our business went through the roof with athletic shoes. That really helped our core apparel business in athletic product -- as people bought the shoes, they then bought the athletic apparel that we owned."
Macy's same-store sales results in 2014 support Lundgren's comments on the impact of a shop-in-shop like Finish Line. Same-store sales, including those of departments licensed to third parties, have increased by 0.8% this year. Excluding licensed departments, same-store sales have risen 0.1%.
"I think there is more room for these unique ideas as part of our mix, for certain in our larger stores," Lundgren said.
"I do think that electronics items are a possibility for us, too," said Lundgren.
Any smartwatch section at Macy's would shake up a section long dominated by watches housed behind locked glass cases from Fossil (FOSL) , Movado (MOV) , Coach (COH) , Calvin Klein and more recently Michael Kors (KORS) .This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no position in the stocks mentioned.