TIME: Will there be store closings?
LUNDGREN: Where it makes sense. There will also be layoffs. We will have one organization.
TIME: Will all May stores become Macy's?
LUNDGREN: We have not decided which ones. Our national nameplate lies with our Macy's and Bloomingdale's brands and not with the very powerful local brands like Burdines in Florida or Rich's in Atlanta. There are a couple of names that are very strong--Marshall Field's and Lord & Taylor. Those will require a great deal of study.
TIME: There have been some disastrous corporate mergers lately.
LUNDGREN: I try to read up on the ones that are successful.
TIME: How do you become one of those?
LUNDGREN: This is a business that we know. It comes at a time when we've worked to create a vision for our own company--a fashion retailer with a national presence.
TIME: How will you make this work?
LUNDGREN: We have four priorities. First, to differentiate our assortment so it's not the same old merchandise. Second, we've been able to take fixtures off our floors, widen our aisles. And we simplified pricing. Fourth is marketing. We have never been able to nationally advertise before.
TIME: You worked your way through college at a restaurant. What did you learn?
LUNDGREN: I started cracking oysters, and I ended up being manager, so I learned that hard work, focus, pays off.
TIME: Why are people so nostalgic about department stores?
LUNDGREN: There were parents, grandparents bringing children to the department stores, going to lunch for two hours and shopping. Those days aren't just attached to department stores. That's a change of life for all of us.
TIME: Do you like to shop?
LUNDGREN: I'm a perpetual shopper. They know as I'm going through the store. They've got a person following me, because they know I'm an easy sale.