Macy's to reduce coupons, limit deals

In a move to simplify pricing, Macy's (NYSE:M) is reducing the number of coupons offered and changing up the way it sells clearance merchandise.

Macy's typically issued paper coupons that shoppers could stack and use in a variety of ways, including toward already discounted merchandise. Coupons good toward full-price merchandise will still be issued, but going forward the store won't accept coupons for clearance items.

Markdowns may be deeper to make up for the lack of an additional discount, but the clearance price will be the price. The program goal in a word, is transparency.

It's a move reminiscent of Ron Johnson's elimination of sales and discounts at JCPenney, but with a critical difference.

Macy's tested the initiative in select stores. In those locations, sales of clearance items were higher and inventory sold through more quickly. Clearance items have been moved to more central locations in those stores, eliminating the scattered racks along with confusing coupon practices.

"With this radical price transparency that's been enabled through e-commerce, this constant visibility to others' prices, [retailers] just can't afford to play games," Carol Spieckerman, a strategist at Spieckerman Retail, told the Washington Post. "Shoppers are on to their strategies and they're annoyed."

Which sounds a lot like what Johnson thought.

For more:
-See this Washington Post story

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