When Federated Department Stores emerged from the ashes of bankruptcy in 1992, the venerable retailer operated 220 stores in 26 states, with a combined revenue of $7 billion. Within only three years, however, Federated doubled in size, after acquiring Macy's in 1994 and Broadway Stores in 1995.
But Federated was just getting started. Bolstered by its acquisition of May Co. in 2005, Federated has become the colossus of department stores, a veritable Wal-Mart of the shopping mall. Last year, Federated recorded net sales of $22.4 billion from more than 850 stores in 45 states.
Like Wal-Mart, the new Federated has enough marketing clout to determine the fate of more vendors from an ever-wider range of once-remote locations in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere around the world. Federated ranked 43rd on The Journal of Commerce's list of Top 100 Importers for 2005, with 28,000 TEUs.
To handle all that scale and complexity, Federated has simplified its marketing efforts, replacing a plethora of famous old brands - such as Bullock's, Filene's, Foley's, Hecht's, Marshall Field's and Strawbridge - with just two brands. By the end of 2006, all of Federated's stores will operate either as Macy's or Bloomingdale's.
Although Federated's headquarters are in Cincinnati, a special division - Federated Logistics and Operations, with its own president - handles worldwide logistics, distribution, vendor relationships and other related operations from Secaucus, N.J.
FLO also delivers merchandise, especially furniture and other big-ticket items, to customers' homes and fulfills Internet and catalog orders. In 2001, FLO was one of the first logistics companies to adopt Six Sigma quality-improvement techniques.
The division is considered a leader in developing business uses for radio-frequency identification technology to help speed the flow of goods through the distribution centers that serve Federated's department stores.
Still another division, Duluth, Ga.-based Federated Systems Group, manages integrated networks of retail, e-commerce and data warehouse systems.