R.H. Macy & Co. is planning to move into the Washington market, opening at least three stores in suburban Virginia and intensifying retail competition in the area.

The nation's 14th-largest retailer plans to build a store in Tysons Corner at Tysons II, a 107-acre office, shopping and hotel project located across from the Tysons Corner Mall. With construction on the store site scheduled to begin this summer, Tysons II officials say Macy's should open in the spring of 1987.

Macy's also will build a store in the new 25-acre Pentagon City project in South Arlington, with the doors expected to open around Christmas 1987, local government officials said.

In addition, industry and local government sources say that Macy's also may take over the spot of a vacant E. J. Korvette's store in Springfield Mall in Fairfax County.

A Macy's spokeswoman would not confirm or deny the company's plans, saying that the two officials who could answer questions were unavailable.

Already regarded as one of the most competitive retail markets in the country and the fifth largest in sales volume, the Washington area has become increasingly attractive to a number of retailers who point to the affluence of the area as the chief reason for entering the market. Within the past decade major retailers, including Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, and I. Magnin, have opened branches here.

Just this week, one of the fastest growing and successful discount chains, Caldor Inc., announced that it plans this fall to open the first of a handful of stores slated for the metropolitan area. Caldor will join Bradlee's, another leading discount department store, which opened 11 stores here two years ago.

Macy's is one of the most highly regarded retail chains in the country, according to retail analysts. Although the chain was slow to modernize, its remodeling and revamped merchandising efforts within the past five years have made it one of the industry's innovators.

In the process of modernizing, the chain has upgraded its merchandise to become a more fashion-oriented organization, noted Walter F. Loeb, an analyst with Morgan Stanley & Co. "It's a fashion organization, very much upscale and very similar to Bloomingdale's," Loeb said. However, he added, "It is very aggressive in pricing, running weekly specials, so it is recognized as a value merchant more than Bloomingdale's."

It is unclear under what name Macy's will operate its three stores here. Tysons II officials say the company's store there will bear the Macy's name. Industry and government officials, however, say that at the other two stores, the company will operate under the name of Bamberger's, the 21-store subsidiary of Macy's that has stores between New Jersey and Maryland, including two in Baltimore.

Macy's has just changed the name of its Atlanta chain from Davison's to Macy's, and may plan to operate all stores south of Baltimore under the name of Macy's, predicted Loeb. Further north, Bamberger's has such a strong name identification that Loeb said he doubted the company would change the Bamberger name for stores in those areas.

Macy's has been eyeing the Washington market for some time, indicating at a recent annual meeting that the company wanted to expand into the Washington market, opening up at least three stores.