Macy's sues to keep Amazon ads off billboard above flagship store

Photo credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Macy’s has hit a New York City-based commercial real estate firm with a lawsuit that aims to stop Amazon from advertising on the billboard above its flagship store.

The Kaufman Organization, which controls the billboard above the department store chain’s Herald Square outpost, plans to ink a deal allowing Amazon to advertise on the display, a lawsuit filed against the firm in New York Supreme Court last week charges.

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Macy’s advertised its own stores on the billboard for approximately six decades, but lost that right when an agreement it had with the firm expired in August, the lawsuit says.

The firm, the suit claims, is “prohibited from entering into an agreement with a Macy’s competitor to advertise on the billboard.”

“Amazon and other online retailers are direct competitors of Macy’s. If Amazon or another competitor were to advertise on the billboard, the negative impact on Macy’s would be immeasurable,” the suit maintains.

“The billboard is approximately 2,200 square feet and is prominently displayed and seen, especially during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” the suit adds. “The damage to Macy’s customer goodwill, image, reputation and brand, should a ‘prominent online retailer’ (especially Amazon) advertise on the billboard are impossible to calculate.”

Macy’s tried to renew its contract to advertise on the display, but could not “come to renewal terms” with the Kaufman Organization before its previous agreement expired, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction stopping the Kaufman Organization from allowing advertising on the billboard “that refers directly or indirectly to any establishment selling at retail or directly to any customer,” as well as costs of suit and attorneys’ fees.

WCBS 880 has reached out to the Kaufman Organization for comment on the suit.