In mergers, as in marriage, it’s a good idea to have a few things in common.

Yet in mergers, as in marriage, it’s also true that opposites attract.

Those truisms are worth remembering when looking at Hudson Bay’s “proposal” to take over Macy’s.

For while there are obvious similarities among the items sold at Macy’s and Hudson Bay’s major department store holdings (Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue), there are also remarkable differences among their customers.

When news of Hudson Bay’s interest in buying Macy’s surfaced, we took a look at the receipts in the Checkout Tracking database. And the data held some surprises about overlap among apparel buyers at Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Saks.

For example:

People who buy apparel at Macy’s tend to be a fairly loyal group. They give a full 16 percent of their apparel share of wallet to the chain.

But those same people tend not to buy clothes within the Hudson Bay family. Macy’s apparel buyers give just 1 percent of their apparel share of wallet to Lord & Taylor, and even less to Saks.

Macy's Apparel Buyers - Share of Apparel Wallet

MerchantFamily %Wallet %Buyers
Macy's 16% 100%
Lord & Taylor 1% 3%
Saks Fifth Avenue 0% 1%


Lord & Taylor apparel buyers, by contrast, are about as fond of that chain as they are of rival Macy’s.

Lord & Taylor Apparel Buyers - Share of Apparel Wallet

MerchantFamily %Wallet %Buyers
Lord & Taylor 11% 100%
Macy's 10% 62%


And Saks Fifth Avenue apparel buyers also tend to shop heavily for clothing at Macy’s.

Saks Apparel Buyers - Share of Apparel Wallet

MerchantFamily %Wallet %Buyers
Saks Fifth Avenue 6% 100%
Macy's 6% 54%

So while there may be a slew of reasons why Hudson Bay would want to join hands with Macy’s (real estate being the obvious one), it also looks like a simple way for the holding company to grab back a considerable percentage of the apparel sales it loses to Macy’s.


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