Macy’s Acquires Minority Stake in Tech Retailer b8ta
Macy’s has partnered with b8ta, the retail-as-a-service startup that originally started as a way to let people try out new tech products before deciding whether to purchase them. Macy’s has acquired a minority stake in b8ta and will use the startup to enhance The Market, the department store chain's experiential-based retail concept. By partnering with b8ta, Macy’s envisions being able to scale its Market concept faster, Macy’s President Hal Lawton said in a statement. For b8ta, this is an additional source of revenue. Earlier this year, b8ta released a solution for retail stores called “Built by b8ta,” which functions as a retail-as-a-service platform for brands that want a physical presence. b8ta’s software solution includes checkout, inventory, point of sale, inventory management, staff scheduling services and more. It appears Macy's will be launching a Built by b8ta store.
Total Retail's Take: Macy's is making an effort to diversify its business, and this investment in b8ta, which caters to a younger, urban, tech-savvy audience, aligns with that strategy. In addition to this latest partnership with b8ta, Macy's is betting heavily on its off-price concept, Macy's Backstage, with nearly 100 new locations planned to open this year. With its Backstage outposts, Macy's is looking to steal market share from TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, and other off-price chains in a vertical that has fared well despite the challenges facing the brick-and-mortar sector. Macy's willingness to evolve its business is paying off. The retailer reported strong first-quarter results, including increases in total sales, comparable store sales and earnings. The turnaround for Macy's is well underway.