If the looming debt ceiling fight in Washington, D.C. is not settled before a default on debt payments by the federal government, retail businesses will take a hard hit, Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren said during a public appearance in New York Friday.
Lundgren said he wasn't particularly concerned about the government shutdown but if the political impasse leads to a default, it will damage the anemic economic recovery and harm consumer confidence.
(Read more: Debt ceiling comes into focus as shutdown drags on)
"The government shutdown is a terrible thing, but it's not really impacting anybody," Lundgren said during a speech at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers fall conference. "If and when we have a default, we will feel that."
The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday released a report that said a debt default could have "catastrophic" effects on the economy that would echo the financial crisis of 2008. Lundgren said that would be bad news for retailers.