Macy’s fights to keep Amazon logo away from flagship store

by mcardinal

Lauren Moye, FISM NEWS


The three-story tall billboard outside Macy’s Manhattan store looks so much like a natural part of the building that it is shocking to think it could hold the branding of anyone else. Yet that is exactly what Macy’s rival e-commerce supergiant, Amazon is aiming to do.

Macy’s opened a lawsuit last week in New York’s state court specifically to prevent this from happening.

Macy’s flagship building on the corner of Broadway and 34th Street was built with an indention to make space for a smaller store building. This building, owned by Kaufman Organization, is the host of the large billboard. Macy’s leased this billboard for nearly 60 years to display their own red colors and name. That changed on August 31 of this year.

Instead of negotiating a lease renewal with Macy’s, Kauffman Organization informed them they were negotiating a new contract with a “prominent online retailer.” Macy’s has pointed to Amazon as the most likely company to be involved in these negotiations.

Macy’s claims their original lease prevents the billboard from ever being rented by a competitor. Kauffman Organization challenged this, prompting the “World’s Largest Store” to open their lawsuit. They are asking a judge to place an injunction that prevents the billboard from being rented to Amazon or any other company.

The company stated in this lawsuit:

The damages to Macy’s customer goodwill, image, reputation and brand, should a ‘prominent online retailer’ (especially, Amazon) advertise on the billboard are impossible to calculate.

As part of their case, Macy’s pointed out that the billboard will be featured heavily in their traditional Thanksgiving Day parade that is televised annually. Their lawyers also cited the millions of tourists who visit Herald Square each year who have come to view the red-and-white Macy’s billboard as a signature landmark to visit.

Amazon, who is not named as a defendant, did not comment on the lawsuit. A Kaufman spokesman denied a connection with the e-commerce giant in a statement made to The New York Post, “While the restrictive covenant will be up to a judge to make a decision, we want to make it clear that we’ve had no communication or negotiations with Amazon relating to the 1313 Broadway space.”

Macy’s sales declined during the 2020 pandemic months along with the majority of other retail stores. However, they recently signaled anticipation of an almost normal holiday sales season by announcing plans to hire 76,000 employees.