The Jacksonville retail market has expanded vastly in recent years. Since the turn of the millennium, brands such as Nordstrom, Apple, Microsoft, Trader Joe’s, and many more have made their way into the First Coast area. IKEA is coming in 2016, with rumblings of Wawa and others coming soon as well.
Through all this growth, however, one sought-after brand remains absent: the popular department store Macy’s.
Jacksonville residents have long sought after their own Macy’s location. The nearest Macy’s resides in Gainesville, over seventy miles away from the center of Jacksonville. Tallahassee and Daytona Beach also have Macy’s locations in their malls, despite all having significantly smaller markets.
What’s more frustrating, still, is that Jacksonville has long been on the radar for potential expansion. Once upon a time, former Macy’s subsidiary Burdines (now merged into the brand entirely) signed on to become one of three anchor stores in a mall project that ultimately succumbed to the rival Avenues Mall.
A lull in interest in the Jacksonville market followed, but hopes were renewed in the mid-2000s with the development of the now-dominant St. John’s Town Center. While the store was not listed, or present, in the outdoor mall’s original plans, rumors were floated that future expansions would include anchors such as Neiman Marcus (still rumored as a future expansion possibility), Nordstrom (opened in 2014), and of course Macy’s.
Adding further fuel to the speculation, Macy’s senior vice president of marketing Carey Watson told the Florida Times-Union in late 2004 that “Jacksonville is the single biggest opportunity for us in Florida.” Soon, Macy’s would begin running television ads on local stations in the First Coast area despite still having no solid plans for developing a store nearby.
And yet, here we are in 2015 and still there is no sign of Macy’s coming to Jacksonville. The future doesn’t look too promising, either — Macy’s announced the closure of 14 stores in January 2015, and will close up to 40 more in the next calendar year. We also live in a time where department stores as a whole are on the decline, as companies are timid about the idea of expanding their physical presence in an age where online sales are becoming more dominant each year.
Jacksonville residents have long considered the addition of Macy’s as a potential badge of legitimacy to the First Coast market. However, with the brand struggling and others like IKEA now adding to the ever-growing cast of brands present in the area, perhaps it is time we realize that we shouldn’t be clamoring for Macy’s; they should be clamoring for us.
For more information about Macy’s, or to write them an email politely asking them about coming to Jacksonville, visit their website at macys.com.