Amid Speculation, Macy’s Says Walnut Room is ‘Staying’

Still, when asked if potential downsizing plans could force changes for the restaurant, a company spokesperson wouldn't say

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No, the Walnut Room at Chicago’s flagship Macy’s store isn’t going anywhere, a company spokesperson said Monday, but questions surrounding the future of the State Street location remain unanswered.

Despite speculation on what might happen to the iconic restaurant following Macy’s announcement that it plans to downsize its Chicago location, spokesperson Andrea Schwartz said the company has “no thoughts of closing our Walnut Room.”

“That’s part of our history and that’s staying,” Schwartz told NBC Chicago.

Questions on the future of the historic staple first sprouted last week, with reports speculating the restaurant could move amid the planned downsize.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Karen Hoguet, the retailer’s CFO, told analysts on an earning calls last week that plans to downsize its store presence are “one of our top priorities of 2017.”

Hoguet also said the downsizing of the Chicago location was “expected to be similar” to a 2015 deal in Seattle. In that deal, Crain's notes, Macy’s sold the top four floors of its downtown store to a private-equity firm that turned the space into offices.

The Walnut Room sits on the seventh floor of the State Street location, and has been a Chicago tradition since 1907, when it was at then-Marshall Field’s. It marked the first restaurant to ever open in a department store and is known for its extravagant holiday displays.

Though it’s clear the Walnut Room will not be closing, when asked if there was a possibility downsizing plans could result in changes for the restaurant, Schwartz wouldn’t say.

“Until we have news to announce, there’s nothing to announce,” she said.

What exactly the downsizing plan will include has not yet been released, but Schwartz noted the Walnut Room is “a very important piece of our business.”

“We know how many people treasure this,” she said.

Last month, Macy’s announced it was shutting down 65 stores in 2017 and eliminating an estimated 10,000 jobs as it battles slowing sales and growing online competition.

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