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Macy’s sues to keep Amazon off billboard space at NYC store

Macy's said in its lawsuit there has been a restrictive covenant in place since 1963 barring the billboard space from being used by any of its competitors.

By: AP | New York |
September 30, 2021 10:42:28 am
Shoppers and pedestrians in a crosswalk near a giant billboard next to Macy's flagship department store in Herald Square in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Macy’s has filed a lawsuit against the company that owns the giant billboard next to its flagship Manhattan store, fighting to prevent Amazon from taking over the advertising space that carried Macy’s name for almost 60 years.

In the lawsuit, filed last week in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, the department store retailer said there has been a restrictive covenant in place since 1963 barring the billboard space from being used by any Macy’s competitor.

But Macy’s said that when it tried to negotiate a lease renewal this year, the billboard’s owners, the Kaufman Organization, told them they were in discussions with a “prominent online retailer,” and there was “little doubt” that meant Amazon, according to the lawsuit.

Messages were left with the Kaufman Organization seeking comment. Amazon had no comment.

In the lawsuit, Macy’s asked the judge for an injunction that would keep Kaufman from leasing the space to Amazon or any other competitor.

“The damages to Macy’s customer goodwill, image, reputation and brand, should a ‘prominent online retailer’ (especially, Amazon) advertise on the billboard are impossible to calculate,” the company said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit pointed out that the billboard is highly visible in its annual Thanksgiving Day parade, which is nationally televised.

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