Tuesday, July 25, 2006

End is coming soon for Famous-Barr

Macy's will take over in September

Scott Wuerz
Belleville News-Democrat

BELLEVILL, Ill. -- When most metro-easters think of Macy's, they think of the annual Thanksgiving Day parade in ritzy New York City.

So some shoppers are a little bit concerned that Macy's replacement of the Famous-Barr department stores at St. Clair Square and the Alton Square shoppingmalls Sept. 9 will lead to big-city high prices and a loss of some of their favorite lines of clothes and housewares exclusive to Famous-Barr stores.

"Famous-Barr has a casual line that I really like called Marsh Landing," Belleville resident Jan Burbank said. "The first thing I thought of when I heard about Macy's was that I hope they don't get rid of it. It's what they call active wear, and I really like it."

Macy's spokesman Linda Decker said store representatives have heard lots of questions and even more rumors about what will be coming and going when the change is made in a few weeks.

"People think Macy's is expensive, but it's really not," Decker said. "We have a wide variety of very affordable items. We try to have something for everyone, and people are going to be thrilled by the everyday values they find."

While some Famous-Barr brands will disappear, Decker said they will be replaced with a wide variety of lines exclusive to the Macy's chain. They'll include I.N.C. and Alfani high-end clothes selections, Charter Club casual clothes line and the First Impressions and Green Dog kids clothes collections. Macy's also sells housewares lines called Style & Co. and the Hotel Collection and kitchenware under the Tools of the Trade brand.

Lauren Switalski, a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student who was shopping Saturday at St. Clair Square, said she doesn't look forward to the change.

"I'm from Chicago and I used to love to shop at Marshall Field's," Switalski said. "Macy's took them over and now they're gone. They took over another store I liked called Kauffman's. It seems like they're taking over everything and I don't like it."

Famous-Barr spokesman Helen Weiss said store officials have taken a lot of calls from sentimental customers.

"The Famous-Barr name has been a fixture in the St. Louis area for years," Weiss said. "People get emotional about things going away. But most of the calls we have are positive."

Shopper Emma Johnson of O'Fallon said she likes shopping at Famous-Barr, but she's ready for the change.

"I've been coming here for years and years. It seems like forever," Johnson said. "I'll miss Famous-Barr. But I think the change will be good. I think people will like it."

"I've shopped at Macy's before in Florida and it seemed nice," Burbank said. "Really, I don't think things are going to be that different."

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