In early 2004, Federated Department Stores found itself in an unusual position; it had to defend its decision not to acquire Marshall Field's. Just a few years earlier, it had extricated itself from Fingerhut, the catalog retailer it acquired to boost its e-commerce business that ended up generating big losses. That deal had attracted a lot of criticism, and in fact, intensified Federated's commitment to financial discipline. Management felt confident in its ability to increase sales and EPS from existing stores. Still, not everyone was convinced that the current array of initiatives, including the push to make Macy's a nationwide brand, was enough.

Case id: 090511