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NEW YORK (AP) — A Venezuelan tourist who said she was wrongfully accused of shoplifting at Macy's flagship store was acquitted Monday in a case that came to light amid concerns that shoppers were being racially profiled at prominent New York stores, her lawyer said.
 
A judge cleared Maria Paez, who said she was just carrying items around the store when she put them in a Macy's bag during a Sept. 12 trip. She soon found herself handcuffed, held in a store detention cell for hours, and pressed to sign a confession and pay $500, while her 12-year-old son waited in the store uninformed of where she was, according to her attorney, Daniel Hochheiser.
 
Court records weren't immediately available Monday evening, and Manhattan district attorney's office representatives had no immediate information on the case. Paez faced misdemeanor charges that carried the potential for up to three months in jail.
 
Paez, whose family owns real estate and a pet-food company in Venezuela, maintains that Macy's security guards targeted her because she spoke Spanish and had words with an impolite fitting-room attendant.
 
"She stuck up for herself, and they didn't appreciate that a foreigner was actually going to talk back to them, and they were going to teach her a lesson," Hochheiser said.
 
A Macy's spokeswoman had no immediate comment.
 
Paez and her attorneys drew attention to her case at a news conference in November, when a series of complaints by black shoppers had spotlighted long-simmering questions about security practices and profiling at Macy's and other major retailers in the city. One shopper, Robert Brown, an actor on the HBO drama "Treme," said he was held for almost an hour and grilled about a $1,300 watch he had bought his mother for her college graduation. He was eventually released without charges.
 
He and at least eight other customers have filed lawsuits saying the store made famous by "Miracle on 34th Street" wrongly targets minorities and holds customers for hours. Macy's has said it doesn't tolerate discrimination.
 
The allegations — which came years after Macy's paid a $600,000 fine and promised to change practices to settle similar claims raised by the state attorney general— sparked an outcry among civil rights advocates. In December, Macy's and several other major retailers agreed to create and publicize a customer bill of rights that explicitly prohibits profiling and unreasonable searches.
 
"I think we're making excellent progress," Ed Goldberg, a senior Macy's executive, said then.
 
But Hochheiser suggests there hasn't been enough progress.
 
"One of the hopes is that there are more Maria Paezes out there who will actually fight these cases and, perhaps, eventually, Macy's will change," he said.
 
Laws in at least 27 states give stores the right to hold and fine shoplifting suspects and allow stores to try to recoup some losses, even if a person isn't convicted.
 
During the more than six hours Paez spent in a store holding cell and a police precinct, she wasn't allowed to call her son, her attorney said. He said the boy didn't learn what had happened until store employees ultimately found him in a shoe department at closing time and took him to a security office.
Published in National News
Thursday, 09 January 2014 03:14

Macy's closing Jamestown Mall store

   It's another blow to a struggling North County mall.  The Macy's store at Jamestown is closing.  A clearance sale begins Monday.  
   The announcement came Wednesday.  Macy's officials say its part of a reorganization that will save the company $100 million per year.  The company will close five under-performing stores and cut 2,500 jobs across the country.    
   A spokesperson for the retailer says many of the 88 Jamestown employees will be offered positions at other Macy's locations in the St. Louis area.  The rest will be given severance packages.  
   Currently, Macy's employs 175,000 employees and operates 841 stores nationwide.
 
Published in Local News

Macy's is going to make some workers unhappy.

The retail chain announced that for the first time, some of their stores will open on Thanksgiving. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that some locations will open at 8 PM on Turkey Day. Macy's is just the latest of several retailers to open on the previously-off limits Thanksgiving.

Toys R Us, Target, Walmart, Sears, and Kmart all opened Thanksgiving night at either eight or nine pm last year.

 

Published in Local News

Macy's has plans to add hundreds of temporary workers for the holidays.

In the metro area, the company will hire 1,500 associates. Nationally, the store will hire 83,000 for its stores as well as Bloomingdale's, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers. A company spokesperson says hiring for the holiday season will start in the middle of this month.

To apply, check out the Macy's Job website.

 

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 02:44

Macy's downtown St. Louis store has closed

   The Macy's department store in downtown St. Louis is now closed.  The retailer shut its doors for good Tuesday.  

   Macy's officials had announced in June that it was closing the store that had been open under various names for nearly 90 years.  Under the Famous-Barr name, the nearly 190,000 square foot department store occupied seven floors of the Railway Exchange Building on Olive Street.  

   Macy's officials have said previously they would try to relocate the store's nearly 100 employees to other stores in the area. Another 100 employees in the company's corporate and district offices have moved to Macy's Earth City offices.

Published in Local News

94 employees at the downtown Macy's are starting the job search.

The retailer announced they plan to close their downtown store this summer. Macy's officials say that eligible workers will be offered a severance options. The retail giant still employees around 3,000 people in stores, warehouses, and a distribution center in the metro area.

The downtown Macy's store opened in 1924.

Published in Local News

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