Macy’s will begin reopening its stores next week after closing them and furloughing the majority of workers due to coronavirus lockdowns across the country. On Thursday, CEO and Chairman Jeff Gennette outlined the steps the storied department store chain is taking as it struggles to make up for lost sales and maintain a safe store environment for would-be shoppers.
“If there’s one small advantage of being a non-essential business, it’s to see what the essential businesses are doing and how they’re responding,” said Gennette in an interview with Chuck Grom, an analyst at Gordon Haskett. Macy’s stores will begin opening on a staggered basis, starting with 68 locations on Monday and another 50 on May 11. Gennette expects all stores will be open within eight weeks. However, not all stores will be fully operational. Some will have certain areas open or fulfillment stations, or simply curbside pickup for customers unwilling to enter the store. Macy’s is working with state and local governments, as well as mall operators at some of its shopping centers, to relaunch its fleet.
But the retailer, which was already struggling with sales well before the pandemic, predicts a slow return to demand. Gennette says next week's sales will likely be one-fifth of what they normally would be at this time of year. To make up for such losses, Macy’s has cut back its marketing dollars, including its digital search advertising.