Nothing Comes To Mind

Mourning the death of Marshall Field's

Crying Statue

Just a quick note this morning. I was shocked to see the outpouring of bitterness and grief that has attended the death of the Marshall Field's brand, which Macy's (M) has apparently defenestrated. You may find said exhalations of regret and anger in response to a prior post on this site, the one inquiring what you believe to be the biggest business stories of 2007.

A huge number of you took the opportunity to expound on this story of a brand retired by its new corporate master. And not in any bogus, organized way, either. One by one, each by each, you line up to yell at Macy's for depriving you of a brand that you loved and lost.

When I was a boy growing up outside Chicago, I have a sweet memory of the long days of boredom my parents would impose upon me. We would go downtown for the day. While there, we would (if I was lucky) visit the Museum of Science and Industry, which I loved, or, if I was less fortunate, the Art Institute, which made me feel like lying down on the cool marble floor and dozing. Somewhere in there, my mother would insist on a visit to Marshall Field's. I imagine, and I may be wrong here, that we had lunch there, lunch being the centerpiece of any day for my mother.

What I remember most clearly was the way she said those words: Marshall Field's. I'm not sure what we shopped for there. I have no idea whether her reverence for the brand was well-founded, even. Not even the names of Bergdorf Goodman or Tiffany (TIF) had the same heft for my mom. Marshall Field's meant quality. It meant, for her, entering a world of class and calm and civility.

There were other stores that had the same weight, most of which are gone now. I recall that Best & Co. was a very big deal. My mom got me a little hat from there. It was made of felt. I wonder where it is now.

My first car was a Studebaker Lark. My first electric guitar? A Hagstrom. My first beer? Schlitz.

The brands that mark our lives are like everything else. They feel permanent, like signposts that will never confuse us, never alter with time. And then one day they are gone.

We can rail against the motion of the sun and moon. We can bemoan the passing of those things that were meant to last forever. And we can remember what it was like to enter the portals of Marshall Field's in the great big city that made us feel so small, and wonder what mall, what superstore, what online shopping site will ever be able make our moms, or anybody else's, feel quite that happy and elegant again.

86 Comments Add Comment

Commercialism has been the cornerstone of our society for a very long time but somehow the blow was softened by the environment of the older shopping
giants. Marshall Field, Best and Co.,Bonwit Teller, Lord and Taylor beckoned us with a aura that made us feel we could be (if only for a visit) something more than we thought we were. Those who needed that aura got a respite from whatever needs they could not realistically satisfy. The loss is like a death and invites mourning.
There is no set time for mourning as each individual deserves what they need.
In time this will pass but a scene gone by that was cherished deserves mention.

Wow, this sure brought back lot of sweet memories - I went to college in Chicago and it was a weekly ritual to take L from 31st and go to downtown - 2 places we always went to were Water Tower Place and Marshal Field's (on State Street I think it was) . So long Marshal Field's.

Marshall Field will remain part of the collective consciousness of 20th century inhabitants of Chicago. Who can forget Mr. Mistletoe and the enormous Christmas tree in the store. And the State Street Christmas window decorations. Lunch at Marshall Field was always a highlight during the Thanksgiving weekend, the kickoff to the consumer buying season before it was known as such.

Macy's is New York, to those of us who remember Marshall Field as a quintessential Chicago brand.

Business decisions aside - I am surprised that a branding change has resulted in such an uproar. I sympathize with the fond memories of the brands that have been replaced, but why is there not as much outrage about issues like war, climate change, and poverty --among others? Are brands what will move us at the end of the day?

It's all made in China now anyway, so what difference does which junk-in-a-box branded store you buy it in?

I grew up in Peoria, but my Dad was born and raised in Chicago. We went every other weekend to visit Grandparents in Chicago before they all died. Our trips were always to the Museum of Science and Industry (my favorite) or The Field Museum of Natural History ***and*** always to Marshall Field's. It had been a destination for my father growing up in the 20's and 30's and continued for us. Sad to see it is now really gone.

I too was raised in a suburb of Chicago. My mother also took me into "the loop" for shopping, lunch &
museums. Marshall Field's was a must stop. My first car was a Hudson Hornet. My first beer was at Seebens Brewery on the North side. My first job was stock boy at the Fair Store. The best hamberger was at the Tip Top Grill. The best theaters had Big Bands like Gene Krupa rising up out of the stage. Ah, those were the days!

As a resident of Chicago, I sorrowfully understand and accept Macy's right to remove the Marshall Field's brand. I also understand and exercise my right to never shop at Macy's.

macy's knoked out filene's also which was a Connecticut link to the venerable G. Fox & Co.

I live in Los Angeles, but when ever I was in Chicago would always go to Marshall Field's to have lunch (yes -- in the Wlanut Room I think), to buy Frangos, and just browse.

The "Old" Federated demolished a local store Bullock's a long time ago so I understand Chicago's pain.

I was in Chicago a few months ago with my mother for a girls weekend and as we plodded through the city, the trip to Marshall Field's was what I was waiting for. I'm sure you can imagine the shock and awe when we walked up and it was gone... I was so mad I can't even tell you what now stands in it's place because I have blocked it from my memory. I have many years of memories of shopping there with my parents and I loved opening the Marshall Field's boxes at Christmas and it makes me sad that it is gone. How dare Macy's do that to loyal consumers?!But I will always have those memories and dang it, one day (when I strike it rish of course) I would love to be able to resurrect that great shopping mecca and tell Macy's how much they suck.

Good-o! You said it all. There's
nothing more to say on the subject!
Except to say "wish I'd said that!"

Marshall Field's was nothing compared to Detroit's J.L. Hudson's. When you went to Hudson's, you knew it was a cut above. When Marshall Fields took over Hudson's it immediately took a deep dive and never recovered. I miss the smell of going into Hudsons when I got dragged in when I was a kid, it smelled like "Real Money". Don't feel bad, It could be worse, you could have lost an Icon like J.L. Hudson's.

It was a wounderful adventure just to walk into the building very beautiful, more than any other store I have ever seen around the world.

Marshall Field's was the Ultimate Department Store. Watch for its return in 2009 when Macy's fails in Chicago!

I will never, ever, ever! forgive Macy's for doing away with Marshall Field's. I grew up in suburban Chicago and learned that Marshall Field's was the supreme arbiter of good taste and excellent quality. Macy's, on the other hand, was in the same boat as the ill-fated Treasure Island and K-Mart brands. I look forward to Macy's demise.

Macy's may have their turkey parade in NY, but Marshall Field's had Christmas. As a child, I added my noseprint to probably thousands of others on those beautifully decorated windows and had chicken pot pie looking at the huge Christmas tree that went all the way to the sky in the center of the building. I also remember years later, as a shopper, that it seemed totally appropriate in so many ways that the head of the silver department was named Miss Sterling! It seems impossible that nobody at Macy's could figure out a way to capitalize on all the good will the store had generated.

I have the same memories. My mom always took us there at Christmas, along with the Fair Store. Over the years, working in the loop, I returned many a time to the Men's Store, to buy Frango Mints, or to just browse the incredible array of merchandise.
Why anyone would kill such a strong brand is beyond me...maybe it's a New York versus Chicago thing. I know I will never grace the halls of a Macy's Store!

macys's sucks all of my favorite brands are gone

To those emotionally incontinent shoppers who wail about the loss of Field's: if you had not rushed to buy your socks at Old Navy, Field's might still be in business. And where were you when the Chicago based food, oil and banking companies were merged out of existence?

Ah yes, Marshal Field's. When I was growing-up in Chicago, my mother would take me there to see the Christmas window displays. They also decorated the interior of the store quite spectacularly. It was something to experience.

Great memories.

I too mourn the loss of Marshall Field's. It was more than a brand is was something special in employees, service, quality and value. The State Street store at Christmas was something magical with the window decorations, Christmas tree, Santa Claus as well as the toy store in the annex.

Macy's has a great tradition. However, it will never beat my memories of Marshall Field's.

Terry Lundstrom brings a discount store mentality to everything he touches. I vowed that I would never enter a Macy's store that used to be a Marshall Fields. I broke that vow 1 time and regretted it. The store at Springhill Mall was dirty; the sales people not very interested in helping customers; and, the quality of the products they were selling was well below the standards of Marshall Fields. I also really hated the hip hop music they were playing. It's not just the name I'd like back, but the same quality of product and service that Marshall Fields was known for. Macy's is nothing more than a high end Target or Walmart.

Macy's made a huge mistake by removing the Fields name. It is not just in Chicago. I live in Wisconsin and most shoppers here feel the same way and are avoiding Macy's. Most here view Macy's as far revoved from the midwestern values associated with Fields

Being a beer drinker of long standing I blieve Macy's has made a strategic blunder in retiring the Marshall Field's name and brand. The reason is everyone has their own taste (be it beer or retail sales). One only has to look at the consolidations that occurred in the beer industry in the late 1960's when many brewries went under or were consolidated into national mega-brands. It was the same old beer ....everywhere. As a result entrepneurs saw a chance to brew and develop their own unique beers which has created a whole bunch of micro-brewries which I am sure have cut into the national mega-brands profits. Which brings me back to Field's. With the advent of computerized inventories, as those used by Home Depot and Walmart, how hard would it be to keep Field's alive as a seperate entity under the Macy's corporate umbrella?

Every major city in the United States has experienced the same sad story. In the Washington, DC area we lost Woodward & Lothrop. Unfortunately (for Macy's), most people here do not take to Macy's and would welcome the return of a store similar to Woodward & Lothrop. Hopefully Belk will make it's way up here.

I was born in Grayslake and though I am only in college, my memories of Marshall Fields will stay with for my lifetime. The windows, the tree, the chicken pot pies, and of course the dedication to excellence. I cannot shop at Macy's now that i see what they have done

I was born and raised in NY, so I loved Macy's as a kid. But, the only "real" Macy's is the one on 34th Street in NYC! Now I live in Florida and Macy's did the same to "Burdine's, The Florida Store" here. I don't blame the people of Chicago feeling as they do.

Words can hardly express the feeling of utter loss we are experiencing over the death of Marshall Fields. It is palpable. Chicago will never be the same. A clock sits attached to the building like a empty relic. The steel plaques bearing the Mashall Field name on the sides of the building serve as bitter reminders of a more elegant, more meaningful past. The sordid Macy's name and Macy's star bears down like some Communistic symbol chanting ditzy "Target"esque marketable monotony and a commonality that only serves as a stark reminder how precious and meaningful a classic really is. Marshall Fields - you are sorely missed. Some tycoons in a boardroom were sadly mistaken. You will be honored in our thoughts forever.


i grew up in oak park...9 miles west of marshall fields...every christmas my parents took me to see the great christmas windows on state street....and to eat at the walnut a young was huge and wooden...but what great special food...of course a box of frango mints for new years eve...the store in oak park was neat...and regular clothes were bought there....but it could not compete with the huge store on state time flies..that was in the early 60s.............

Thanks for the story! A minor correction: The Museum of Science and Industry is in Hyde Park, not downtown. The Field Museum is Downtown.They both look a little similar

The age of department store mergers has resulted in many hometown store losses. Federated swallowed whole our family's favorite store, Rikes, in Dayton, Ohio. The downtown store covered most of a city block and had 9 sales floors, including a pet department. Christmas open house was a special event--nationally known TV stars would be in the store to sign autographs and mingle with the customers. The return policy of the store was generous--there was no time limit whatsoever. Those days are long gone now...

Hey Frank in Chicago..How do you make the asumption that the ones that "wail about the loss of Field's" are the same one who rushed by to buy socks at Old Navy. What if they were the only ones who still shopped at Fields?? What a foolish comment to make!!

Don't you all realize the Macy's on State Street has made a point to preserve all of those wonderful traditions that you all have such fond memories of? The store is still there, the Christmas displays & special events are all still there- and aside from a few brands, the high quality merchandise and selection you loved from Marshall Fields is still there.

I can't believe all of this backlash to a name change. I know that people hate change and love for everything to stay the same, however, doesn't anybody realize that Marshall Fields will never come back? Even if everyone boycotts State Street forever, Chicago won't just lose Macy's, but it will lose the last Flagship store & single destination store for the city.

Having just returned from Chicago ,I join the many who wax nostalgic for the State Street Marshall Field's store. Macy's doesn't subscribe to Warren Buffet's approach to keeping strong brands. Perhaps their retail management is better than Fields' since there must be a reason why Field's was the target and not the acquirer. Lot's of other retail doing quality things in Chicago.

For the Detroiter: J.L. Hudson's was never supported as much as Field's was by Chicagoans. I saw plywood in the windows of Hudson's in the early 80's when downtown Detroit was dying. The loop was never as dismal. Also, Hudsons was taken over by Dayton's out of Minneapolis not Field's.

Everyone in Chicago knows the disolution of the Field's name was Macy's overt attempt to ram a New York name down the throats of Chicago shoppers; a complete and utter insult to Chicago and the midwest. However, according to financials released by Macy's, sales are down 39% in Chicago. SURPRISE!! They are very slow to admit the failure of the name change, but heads are likely to roll (some already have). I, for one will not set foot into any of their stores, and will instead shop at Nordstrom's or Bloomingdale's.

"Business decisions aside - I am surprised that a branding change has resulted in such an uproar. I sympathize with the fond memories of the brands that have been replaced, but why is there not as much outrage about issues like war, climate change, and poverty –among others? Are brands what will move us at the end of the day?"

Seriously. There are thousands of message boards that discuss war, climate change and poverty (and with plenty of outrage). This is not one of them.

It was and still is a strong brand name. I'm surprised they just killed it and didn't keep it alive by carrying a few lines with the nam on it. The bottom line is that while people liked it, not enough must have shopped there. Be honest people, when was the last time you made a treck downtown to buy something. Memories from childhood don't pay the bills.

Yet again another carriage trade business down the drain. It is time we went back to the future and patronized local merchants who care, not the chains who give us crappy, knowledge deficient sales help and NO EXPERIENCE! Local merchants know it's about YOU not about THEM!

Marshall Fields was a great store for many reasons. Unfortunately, if Macy's were to change the name back to Fields it wouldn't help. The quality of merchandise and service that Fields offered are long gone.

Growing up in the Detroit area, I have great memories of going to Hudson's in Downtown Detroit. My Mom and I would take the bus downtown and lunch was the highlight too. I felt sad when they changed the Hudson's name to Marshall Field's. But, Marshall Field's had quality merchandise and great value. Macy's merchandise is garbage (can't think of a nicer word). Can't help but wonder how long it will be before Macy's is history (along with Sears and K-Mart).

When I lived in Connecticut, I saw Macy's as a quite ordinary store. I seldon shopped there despite it being almost just across the street. To lose Marshall Fields for Macy's felt like having BMW rip the Hood ornament off a Rolls Royce and badge it as a Mini Cooper. To Chicagoans, it seemed like Federated had absolutely no respect for the traditions and memories of Fields Shoppers. We can save money on advertising so to hell with Fields. Well many shoppers in Chicago are saying to hell with Macy's. In the end, people will wind up shopping at Macy's but will the dollars saved in marketing outweigh the business lost in the meantime? Count me as a Macy's hater.

They did the same thing a while ago to our local pacific nw brand Meier and Frank. While it was painful at first to think about, in the end it is the same buildings, similar stuff because Macy's had owned it for a while, and natives still refer to it as Meier and Frank if they feel like it. Do I have fond memories of Christmas village at Meier and Frank in Pdx downtown? Sure. Is it gone now? yes, as of last year. What can I do about it? Nothing.

You dudes are dinosaurs. Get with the times and stop living like the Flintstones.

Marshall Fields did the same thing to Detroit's J.L Hudson's when they took it over not so long ago. Hudson's was Detroit's version of Macy's and Fields, and when Marshall Fields took it over, all of the Detroit area Hudson's stores became Marshall Fields. So what do I say to Marshall Fields...You got what you dished out!!

In response to the J.L. Hudson debate, the man from Cleveland is completely wrong and knows nothing about Detroit. We loved Hudson's. The Thanksgiving Parade was the "Hudson's Parade", and the local headline when Macy acquired Marshall Field was "Hudson's is changing its name again".

Such wonderful memories to get on the Amtrak in Lincoln, Il. and go to Chicago to Union Station with the final destination being Marshall Field's. To arrive at that wonderful store after gazing at the windows and entering another world from downstate was almost overwhelming. This was the most wonderful experience ever!! Christmas time and the blustery wind and the decorations in every window were as magical in memories as well as reality. To go to the Walnut Room for a luncheon around the massive Christmas Tree was an elegant affair. Then shopping and ending the day with a box of Frango Mints was perfection. Back to the train and homeward bound. Each of my four children made this trip for this experience and will never forget it. That world is gone forever and I am saddened but so fortunate to have experienced it. Chicago without Marshall Field's is empty. Thanks for the memories.

If it were only as simple as a name change. In fact, for anyone who has shopped MF and now Macy's, you will notice the variety of merchandise has significantly decreased since Macy's purchased MF. No surprise their sales are down 40%.

Y'know, at first I thought it was Marshall Field's that was the point of this string. But the more I think about it, this is a "Mom" story.

It wasn't too cool for boys to hang out with moms once we got out of elementary school. And by the time I'd matured enough to demonstrate my appreciation for her again, she had sadly died waaaay too young.

So one of the memories I cling to is our day-long adventure in maybe seventh grade: Riding the Chicago and Northwestern from Palatine just to hit Field's to buy school clothes. And unlike the journeys to Randhurst or the other local places, there was magic when we pulled open those heavy metal doors and gazed up the atrium at floor after floor of possibilities: Mom agreed to buy me whatever I liked. A navy blue CPO. A long-sleeved plaid shirt that couldn't have been her first choice. White Levi's. Even Moccasins! Can you believe that? Moccasins! For school!

I just hope somewhere along the line I've given my own kids some little moment where the whole world turned upside down like that....

Get over it, it's just a store. If it was so grand and wonderful and everyone shopped there, it would never of gone out of business. And stop with this midwest values junk - how can a store have midwest values. If you mean the people working there having midwest values - guess what - the same people are working there.

If you lived in Minneapolis you feel the sam way about the Original Daytons store- that name is gone
forever to Marshall Fields- and now Macy- but it doesn't make any difference as I quit trading there when the name Daytons was defenstrated or as we used to say "Thrown out the window"

Macy's is NOT a destination in Chicago, be it State Street or any other location. Macy's is all over the country so why should anyone take the time to visit Macy's on State Street when they most likely have a Macy's in there own hometown. Marshall Fields on State Street was the 3rd largest tourist destination in Chicago. Overall just an unwise choice on the part of Federated/Macy's to do the name change along with dropping Marshall Field brands/specialty labels along with the higher end customer service.

Stupid. Brand names are worth zillions of dollars. Keeping the brand and selling it at Macy's and calling the downtown store Macy's Marshall Field would have been SMART marketing. It doesn't take a genius to realize that. Retiring it is a big mistake. Fire the marketing director! Bob Brownson, Arroyo Grande, CA

If they would have kept the name we would still shop there. Chicagoins have pride in the history of thier city. Macy's and Bloomingdale's are "New York stores" and forcing them on us will never work - and business will never learn that.

Welcome to the revolving Retail door. Just Like Banks Michigan National..Standard Federal.... Lasalle....Bank of America... the list goes on and on

"It’s all made in China now anyway, so what difference does which junk-in-a-box branded store you buy it in?"

Well -- that's a part of the problem. I don't want to buy stuff made in China, I want a better quality of stuff. Marshall Fields quality. Filene's quality.

They aren't asking consumers if they want a chain of McMacys replacing the old, unique stores, they are just doing it and shoving it down our throats. Same with all the crap made in China.

We've lost our unique department stores in Denver, and I won't set foot in our Macys either. Or Old Navy (tacky clothes). Or Wal-Mart.

In response to the posters who think Macy's rebranded Field's because it was just a fond childhood memory for Chicagoans and we didn't shop there any more -- not true. I used to buy almost everything there, from my shoes to my watch. Bought most gifts there, bought furniture there, all our dishes, etc... I shopped the suburban Field's and trekked down to the loop to shop the State Street store - especially for Christmas gifts. Now shopping is a pain, no single place to go anymore. On the good side, the savings account is a lot fatter...

Thanks for the wonderful imagery. With the paycheck from my first job I went to Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In those days it was a big deal to go to Saks. I felt grown up, but more than that, I felt taken care of as a customer. The sales people would wait on you hand and foot, bringing items to you in your expansive dressing room. Saks is still around, but it doesn't feel special to shop there anymore. I

"I don’t want to buy stuff made in China, I want a better quality of stuff." - Posted By Gina, Denver CO

What a liar!

You will buy whatever is the cheapest or whatever is on discount. You are another silly American who has a romanticized version of what life should be like.

Just buy things and stop worrying about pride and uniqueness. You probably look like, smell like, and sound like 90% of the other people in America. Shopping at a certain store does not make you special. You probably have a houseful of goods made in China like everybody else. Blend in and stop trying to be special.

Conformity is inevitable.

As a former resident of Chicago, my fondest memory is walking by the Christmas windows on my way to the "L" or stopping into Fields whenever I needed practically anything - I spent many paychecks there - happily. I'll never set foot in Macy's either (and have boycotted the ones in PA, where I reside now.) "Meet me under the clock at Macy's" just doesn't sound the same. Anyone agree?

That's exactly how I remember it in Allentown, PA. In my case, it was Hess' and their flower show in the 60s & 70s. They pulled out all the stops to capture the imagination, making a unique statement and people flocked for many miles to see what they did. Like too many retail stories, when the Hess family sold the business, the uniqueness went away - and eventually so did the sales. I travel extensively for business and hear the same story played out across our country. At the same time I read that the big retailers are struggling because of the inability to differentiate. Styles are certainly recycling. Why can't business models? Do I smell an opportunity here for some retail savvy entrepreneurs?

Macy's -- they did the same thing to Rich's (Atlanta), which was never ailing. Macy's just did it because they could.

I wonder if my children will ever develop an affinity for a brand or place like some people have for Marshall Fields.

Then I look around my house to see all of the Happy Meal toys and I think I've found my answer.

I want to print out and frame today's post -- it was that beautifully written.

Well done you!

NOTE TO "Yadgyu": Dude (or Dudess) - time to sign up for yoga or do some deep breathing. You are one angry person!

My first trip to Marshall Field's came a right of passage when I entered Kindergarten. It was memorable, yes. But not to be left in the past and mourned. We are taking responsibility for the FUTURE. Check out

Change ths store name to Rich's, the city to Atlanta and the same story applies. Rich's had the Magnolia Room for lunch and was known throughtout the Southeast as the store where the customer was always right- CUSTOMER SERVICE was parmount.

This is in response to Karen from Macy's North HQ in Minneapolis who posted earlier. How do I know you're from Macy's? Because your post reads just like a press release, and because it points out that you, like the rest of Macy's management do not now, and have never had a clue.

Thank you for a from-the-heart article. Clearly, Macy's has made a very bad business decision. The boycott here in the Chicago is just killing Macy's. The State Street Store is an absolute ghost town. Macy's shareholders will eventually force a change. There are some shareholder lawsuits about the Macy's/Field's debacle already. Once a new owner takes over the State Street Store, we in
Chicago will do whatever it takes to get the new owner to bring back Marshall Field's. We can do it. Chicagoans and visiting tourists will NEVER accept the Macy's on State Street. THE BOYCOTT IS WORKING!

Macy's has no idea what they destroyed when they changed the names of Field's and other regional stores. It is much more than nostalgia! I bought everything--clothes, furniture, cosmetics, jewelry, you name it--at Field's, NOT at Old Navy. I will not spend one red cent in the M store. I'd also like to dispell a few myths and clarify some points I see posted here:
1. Dayton-Hudson bought Fields, then changed their own stores to the Fields name because they felt it had more brand recognition and cache. Fields DID NOT "take over" Hudsons!
2. Mary Lou in Burr Ridge: thanks for participating in the Macy's boycott, but please be aware that Bloomingdale's is owned by Macy's too. Spend your dollars at Nordstrom's, Von Maur, L&T, or Nieman-Marcus instead!
3. Karen in MPLS: You're wrong--the brands are NOT the same, and the store on State Street is NO LONGER a tourist destination. The rebranding has cost the city a fortune in sales tax revenue, not to mention a reduction in shoppers to the whole State Street area.
4.Field's was NOT losing money prior to the takeover. It was profitable and growing, thus an attractive target for Federated.

All of my statements above are verifiable facts. Do not believe and repeat the lies and spin that Macy's marketing departments espouse. If you're going to form an opinion--especially when using it to attcak others--check your facts first.

Viva la boycott!

Don’t you all realize the Macy’s on State Street has made a point to preserve all of those wonderful traditions that you all have such fond memories of? The store is still there, the Christmas displays & special events are all still there- and aside from a few brands, the high quality merchandise and selection you loved from Marshall Fields is still there.

I can’t believe all of this backlash to a name change. I know that people hate change and love for everything to stay the same, however, doesn’t anybody realize that Marshall Fields will never come back? Even if everyone boycotts State Street forever, Chicago won’t just lose Macy’s, but it will lose the last Flagship store & single destination store for the city.
Posted By karen, minneapolis MN : September 27, 2007 4:17 pm

Boy it's like something from Fall 2005! That rhetoric may have worked
two years ago now it's just laughable if it wasn't so pathetic! You sound like a quisling employee of Macy's if I ever heard one. Some one right out of the PR department.

The Christmas windows, the Great (Christmas) Tree, lunch at the Walnut Room, Santa, and Toys. All will be at State Street Macy's this Christmas!!!! No many companies would work as hard as Macy's had to preserve traditions! But we all must understand that Grandma's deparment store was already long gone before Macy's expanded across the country! All the detractors heer have no clue how to run a department store in the year 2007. And Macy's sales are not off by 40% in Chicago. That's a flat out lie! Macy's has a huch task in front of it to turn around the former Field's stores, which began to lose sales in 1999. Target Stores was anxious to get rid of them as the stores had begun to fail!

macy*s blows

Please allow me to correct some misconceptions expressed from posters to this blog.

First, to all you Dayton Hudson's fans, Dayton Hudson corporation purchased the profitable Marshall Field's stores in order to move their Dayton chain more upscale. Dayton Hudson chose to rebrand their own stores as Marshall Field's.

Second, Marshall Field's did not "go out of business". In fact, Field's remained profitable even as many competitors lost money and Macy's filed bankruptcy. Prior to Macy's takeover of the Marshall Field's stores, Field's average sales per store was higher than Macy's and Bloomingdales.

Field's was profitable and growing prior to Macy's takeover, as were Field's competitors Neiman's, Saks, and Nordstrom. Unfortunately, sales at former Field's locations declined dramatically when Macy's name went up. Had the stores remained Field's, they would certainly have enjoyed the growth that continues for Neimans, Saks and Nordstrom.

Macy's could have built their own stores as do most growing stores. But instead they chose to eliminate Field's as competition for both their Macy's and Bloomingdales brands. More than 6,200 former Field's and May Company employees have been fired by Macy's as a result of this takeover expansion strategy.

Chicago lost Marshall Field's - its crown jewel, a icon recognized around the world as a unique Chicago experience, a tourist destination, an icon of unique Chicago style, and the greatest benefactor known by any city in the nation. As Macy's, sales are down, millions fewer visit the stores, tax revenues are down, mall operators where Field's once attracted shoppers now report reduced customer traffic, employees have been fired and stores have been closed.

Everyone suffers so that Macy's can sweep the nation with generic stores, fake knock-off designer Macy's brands, low end merchandise and service.

To those who say that Marshall Field's changed the name of Dayton's and Hudson's, in actuality, the opposite was true. After purchasing Marshall Field's in the '90s, the Minnesapolis owners of Dayton-Hudson's decided that they wanted to increase the profile of all of their stores in the upper midwest, so they actually changed their own name to Marshall Field's.

Thank you so much for the article about Macy's obliteration of Marshall Field's and allowing comments to be posted. This is a huge marketing and business story. Thank goodness the situation is starting to be better understood by some in the media and by many analysts in the financial world despite Macy's valiant attempts to obfuscate. Macy's will never succeed in Chicago. Period. I don't know how it will end up for them in other cities who also are being deprived of their heritage department stores. But, I can say comfortably and without any hesitation that the Chicago market is lost to Macy's. Here is why. Many thousands of Field's shoppers and Chicago loyalists vowed that they would never shop in Macy's on principle and were very clear on this point in letters and petitions to Terry Lundgren. He chose to disbelieve or ignore this even as credit cards were cut up and mailed to him along with irate comments and after his big grand opening of Macy's went "splat". I can only conclude that he thought we were bluffing, or that he would be able to entice enough brand new shoppers to Macy's that he really didn't care who he blew off. Many ex-field's shoppers- many who were big spenders- are now boycotters who have not set foot in Macy's for over a year-exactly as promised.

The next part of the story is even more telling: Some people really did decide to give Macy's a chance. They were open minded to shopping there. But, they went only once or twice and never returned to Macy's because there are so many other, better retail choices around. The downscale "feel" of Macy's, the lessening in quality of much of the merchandise from what people were used to and the strange "fakey" brands just did not resonate at all. The almost immediate downward change in service levels, the closing of unique departments, the loss of high end designer labels, and allowing the loss of many long time knowledgeable salespeople who moved on to greener pastures are also things Macy's screwed up.

So, the Field's loyalists won't spend money at Macy's and people who tried to are abandoning them and telling their friends why. Who then are the Chicago shoppers who are suddenly going to "save" Macy's?

Macy's did the same thing here in Florida to our 100 year old store brand Burdines, with the same outpouring of emotions and childhood memories for many of us natives. We still tend to think of Macy's as "that New York store".

Dayton-Hudson purchased the Marshall Field stores, when the store (company) went on the market, as a result of family bickering. Had the descendents of the family, been at all interested in the company and not in the bottom dollar, perhaps marshall fields would still be around. Perhaps Dayton-Hudson would also be around. We will not know.

What we know, is that Dayton-Hudson took advantage of a company up for sale, bought it and incorporated it as Dayton-Hudson-Marshall Field.

It became Marshall Field throughout all the stores, as the name had the most worldwide recognition of all the stores.

Daytons was a damn fine store, top to bottom. The two stores were very much alike.

I grew up in Iowa and have similar memories of the big trip to Des Moines to visit Yonker's at Chistmas time. It was those trips that made it clear to me I wnated to work in retail.

I moved to the Twin Cities to attend college and was hired by Dayton's part time. I never wanted to work anywhere else. Retail was so exciting. Nothing ever stayed the same. It was always about what was next, what was new. The pace of change is the same today.

I work for Macy's now, in the same building on Nicollet Mall that I've been working in for 20 years. There are thousands of us who are still working for the same store under a new name.

I feel the exact same way. Every year my grandparents would take me and my siblings downtown on the train (we had to sit on the top level!) to look at the windows and to eat in the Walnut Room with the magnifient tree. I loved that store, as I became older, even more, because I understood what it did for Chicago and the legendary shopping there. People like Marshall Field founded the Chicago that we now know today. It sickens me to see the macy's name on the old Marshall Field's building, and I refuse to even walk in.

I'm another Minnesotan and aside from all the business-related opinions, I just have to say that Marshall Fields or Macy's, I still miss Dayton's, and still refer to 'Macy's as Daytons. For all of my 26 years, my family and I have attended the Dayton's Auditorium. What a great tradition. We hope Macy's doesn't throw this away because it makes the holiday experience unique to this community. Yes, people dislike change (I dislike big change), but sometimes change isn't necessary.

I really miss Marshall Field's State Street store.
I'm happy to hear that this location is not doing well for Macy's. I will never shop there with this owner.
I found this web site searching for Marshall Field collectibles~specifically those famous green boxes.

It was with deep sadness that I learned of the demise of Marshall Fields. I lost my dearly beloved Woodward & Lothrop in the middle of the 1990's and spent years finding alternative places to make my purchases.

Competition is good for the soul and good for the economy. Our traditional places of commerce held a special and important place in the culture of our cities and suburbs. Too bad, new comers did not feel loyal to the local establishments. Too bad that these folks did not understand the value of these local establishments.

No one needs to have all cities and suburbs alike with a common denominator that is always the lowest.

The lack of commerce for local establishments has vast repercussions.

Competition helps keep prices lower, helps keep the market place fresh. The traditional establishments provided many jobs and benefits to their employees. There was a loyalty contract, often unspoken, between employer and employee.

As the United States continues on its quest to be a mobile society, mobile persons should learn the culture of their new environment. It is mandatory for our economic future to maintain and sustain local businesses.

Establishing business outside the community supports an economy housed outside the community. The external business does not feel any urge to provide assistance to employees or to the local community at large. These big, out of state organizations, favor efforts that fit their national goals, rarely providing support for communities where they do business.

How sad it is that the modern economy fails to teach loyalty to local businesses. How dreadfully sad it is.

I long for competition I long for consumer choices. I long to support local businesses. Alas, I long for something that is no longer an option.

Consumers need their Marshall Fields, their Woodward & Lothorp, and, their Julius Garfinckles & Co. There is no better shopping than these, now defunct, shopping havens.


It is tragic that this find institution has fallen away. Marshall Fields offered a brand name in shopping that cannot be recreated by the big box shops. Personal attention to customer needs and wants separated the department stores from the rest of the bunch.

It is not acceptable that customers fail to understand the importance of local establishments.

GET A LIFE. Thank God Marshall Field's is gone forever! They sold overpriced China made goods in dark, dank of of date stores. And that's the truth. Field's decision to go upscale was their undoing. You need the physical environment and excellent customer service to make it happen. Field's began to fail in 1999. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Bloomingdale's is owned by macy's. Boycott Bloomingdale's AND macy's! Ifn you shop at Bloomingdale's, it hurts our cause.