• Retail Dive

Macy's closes all of its stores through March

Dive Brief:

  • Macy's has closed all of its banners through March 31 as part of a broader effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, according to a press release.

  • Closures include Macy's full-line department stores, Backstage, Bloomingdale's, Bluemercury, Market by Macy's and its outlet stores. The company's Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury brands will continue selling online, the company said.

  • Macy's said it would provide benefits and compensation for affected employees but did not outline details.

Dive Insight:

Dozens of retailers have announced this week that they will close their stores nationwide as governments and businesses scramble to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

"The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority," Macy's Chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement. "As a result of the recent COVID-19 developments, we have decided to temporarily close our stores."

Retailers and malls in some hot spots are being forced to close by government order, as officials take ever more dramatic steps to try to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. New Jersey has ordered all indoor malls to close, while San Francisco has ordered residents to stay at home, effectively shutting down non-essential shopping.

Other major department store players have announced recently that they were closing their stores, among them Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks owner Hudson's Bay Co.

All this comes as Macy's was gearing up for a major overhaul of its business. The retailer's ambitious turnaround plan (dubbed "Polaris") hinges on the department store chain's loyalty program, fashion curation and digital growth, as well as cost cuts and a revamping of its store base, with 125 store closures planned for the next three years.

With going-out-of-business sales a critical component to store optimization plans, those closures are likely to be put on hold until shoppers return to stores. "We would advise these retailers to re-think their strategies and timelines," Joseph Malfitano, managing member of disposition advisory firm Malfitano Partners, told Retail Dive in an email this week. "Expectations of inventory values likely will not be achieved depending on when stores are planned to close."

And of course the closures come at a critical time for Macy's, which launched its turnaround plan for a reason: It has struggled with declining sales and traffic to its stores. The last thing the retailer needed was a massive, nationwide halt in discretionary shopping and store shutdowns.

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