Metro-East Living

Macy’s Backstage aims for fashion- and price-savvy shoppers

I got a good look at Macy’s new Backstage outlet store this week. The grand opening is Saturday at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, but it’s been unofficially open all week.

If you’re curious to see what’s going on there, you can go today, or be one of the first 100 people in line when the store opens at 9 a.m. Saturday (Illinois 157 entrance) and you’ll get a free $20 Macy’s gift card. Plus, there will be a disc jockey, photo booth and other celebratory activities.

Store manager Bob Jacob calls Backstage a place for “fashion-savvy shoppers.” I’d add price-savvy to that description. Macy’s is re-inventing itself with this store-within-a-store concept, which competes on many levels for customers who shop for brand names at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.

Some things to know about Backstage, which is located on the lower level with an entrance to the mall:

1. The “off-price” goods sold here are not left-overs or clearance items from the main store; they’re specific to Backstage. You may find some limited quantities, but the outlet store also restocks with new merchandise regularly.

2. The merchandise is already marked down, so put your Macy’s coupons away. I saw trendy $80 brandname dresses for $24 to $30, so there are some deep discounts here. Macy’s credit card is always welcome.

3. You’ll discover goods not found in the rest of the department store, such as children’s toys, children’s shoes and home decor items and accessories, such as table lamps and accent chairs. A display of decorative vases, goblets, candles, trays and bowls in silver and gold tones were all under $20 each. Plus, there is a small cosmetics, fragrances and haircare section.

4. Check out the glass case holding “previously loved” (refurbished) designer handbags, including Louis Vuitton and Fendi. A $1,000 Vuitton purse is going for $799.99, while a Fendi cross-body wallet is $129.99, regularly $500.

5.Stop by the Juice Bar, the place you can sit and recharge your phone, tablet or laptop. (Might be a place to park a kid while you scope out the shoe section?)

6. Backstage has its own checkout area, and it looks a lot like the ones at other off-price retailers: a lane lined with small, impulse items you can browse while you wait your turn.