'I'm not going to say that we're not going to close more stores,' Macy's CEO says

  • Macy's has already announced plans to shutter 100 of its brick-and-mortar department store locations over the next few years.
  • The chain has been under increasing pressure from activist investor Starboard to make money off its real estate holdings.
Jeff Gennette, CEO, Macy's
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Jeff Gennette, CEO, Macy's

Macy's has already announced plans to close 100 of its department stores over the next few years, but that's not to say there aren't more closures to come, CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts and investors Thursday.

"I'm not going to say that we're not going to close more stores beyond those 100," Gennette said on the company's earnings conference call.

The way Macy's looks at its brick-and-mortar locations today is as if the retailer were starting from scratch again, he explained.

"What major cities would we be in? What key malls would we be in? What stores wouldn't we have built?" he said.

"When we made the decision to go aggressively and made the announcement on the 100 stores, we did it thinking that ... was the appropriate level of stores across the country. As things go, you know, we're watching all of this and how the store trends evolve."

Gennette said Macy's is always looking for "advantageous opportunities," where the value of its real estate is greater than the retail sales contributed from that location.

Macy's has been under increasing pressure of late from activist investor Starboard to make money off its vast real estate empire. This, as consumers increasingly spend their money at other off-price locations and on the internet.

The retailer's latest earnings sent shares tumbling more than 14 percent, hitting a fresh 52-week low of $25.00, in heavy volume. The results, which missed Wall Street's expectations, showed performance was deteriorating from already weak levels.

Macy's is far from the only retailer shutting down stores and selling off real estate in 2017. So far this year, retailers are on a record-setting pace for retail bankruptcy filings and store closings.

Sears and Kmart (under Sears Holdings), J.C. Penney, hhgregg, GameStop and Staples are just a handful of companies trimming down their store portfolios amid an evolving retail landscape.

Macy's CEO has acknowledged these challenges and is testing several strategies to win back customers and revive sales. One of those is a more aggressive rollout of its off-price Backstage stores.

Read: Macy's reports first-quarter earnings