This will be a big trend in e-commerce: Macy’s CEO

Macy's CEO: Online retail not only answer
Macy's CEO: Online retail not only answer
Malls?... Don't forget the social experience: Macy's CEO
Malls?... Don't forget the social experience: Macy's CEO

Macy's CEO and Chairman Terry Lundgren predicted on Tuesday that any major company that only sells online today will have bricks-and-mortar stores in five years.

He pointed to eyeglass company Warby Parker as a company that charted a course in e-commerce but decided to open stores.

"They got a feel for what it's like when the consumer comes in and interacts with them, and they said, 'This is what my customer wants,'" he told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "I think that's going to be a trend of the future. I think it's going to go the opposite of what many people have predicted."

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Macy's is widely cited by analysts as a leader in omnichannel selling, a strategy in which retailers integrate online, mobile and in-store shopping. Lundgren said omnichannel selling will only increase.

Still, he added, some department store closures are inevitable as developers create new shopping centers.

"This is going to happen, because a new mall opens next door to an old mall, and the old mall closes. That's just the way it's going to go. Developers develop, and so they're going to continue to look for new opportunities to build stores, but it's almost always going to come out of an older mall," he said.

Macy's stock took a hit after the retailer announced plans to close 14 stores last week as part of a merchandise and marketing restructuring. The company will also take up to $110 million in charges related to the closures in the fourth quarter of 2014. Lundgren noted that most of the stores to be closed are in second-tier malls.

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As for whether profit margins are better when consumers shop online or in stores, Lundgren said he would prefer that customers visit stores because they typically buy more on the sales floor and are less likely to return purchases when they see them in person.

Looking further into 2015, he said low gasoline prices could be the biggest positive for consumers. He also sees the fundamentals for growth in place now that the country is adding jobs and Americans are working more hours.

"I think we're in a place right now where consumption can return back to what we've seen in the past," he said.