The Eternal Optimism of Macy's CEO, Year After Year, Is Really Hard to Watch

On Thursday, Macy's announced the closure of 100 stores and the media turned once again to longtime CEO Terry Lundgren. While Lundgren is credited with expanding Macy's internet presence and availability of products online, Macy's has also faced ups and downs competing against retailers such as T.J. Maxx. And Amazon's insatiable appetite for brick-and-mortar businesses has only made matters worse.

After "five straight quarters of comparable sales declines," Fortune reported, Lundgren will step down in early 2017. When interviewed Thursday on the closure of the 100 stores, Lundgren offerered a quintessentially Lundgren response, "By having 100 fewer stores, we'll be able to intensify that talent into the remaining stores!" 

In 2009, after Macy's said 11 stores would be shut down, slashing 7,000 jobs, the retail giant announced an event it called "Fashion's Night Out" to bring people into the stores versus shopping online.

"The good news is, things seem to be in the position where we can plan for it... we can see what's coming," Lundgren said in 2009.

The plan ultimately failed after four years. 

"I would love for our customers to spend a little bit more money, but they don't have to! They just have to spend a little bit more money with us," he said in 2013.

Watch his similar responses to the company's lows for nearly a decade:


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