Macy's is closing stores nationwide because of coronavirus

Macy's latest retailer to temporarily close locations nationwide
Macy's latest retailer to temporarily close locations nationwide

Macy's is closing all of its stores nationwide, effective at the end of business Tuesday through March 31, to try to help curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The closures include all Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Bluemercury, Macy's Backstage and other outlet stores, the company said in a press release. Macy's said it will offer benefits and compensation to its affected workers during this time. 

"The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority," CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement. 

"As a result of the recent COVID-19 developments, we have decided to temporarily close our stores. We will work with government and health officials to assess when we will reopen our stores and safely bring our colleagues back to work." 

Macy's said its online operations will remain open for business throughout March.

As of the latest reported quarter, Macy's was operating 551 Macy's department stores, 34 Bloomingdale's locations, 19 Bloomingdale's outlets and 171 Bluemercury shops, according to its website. As of Feb. 2, the company had roughly 130,000 employees, excluding seasonal staff.

A sitting area typically filled with people is virtually empty as a man walks through Herald Square with a protective mask on March 12, 2020 in New York City.
Gary Hershorn | Getty Images

The announcement by Macy's came less than 24 hours after Nordstrom said it would be closing its more than 360 stores temporarily because of coronavirus. Nordstrom has also withdrawn its 2020 earnings outlook, due to the uncertainty of the situation.

Nordstrom, which is headquartered in Seattle near one of the earliest clusters of coronavirus cases in the U.S., said it has experienced "a broad-based deceleration in customer demand over the past couple of weeks, particularly in markets most affected by the virus." 

Macy's offered no comment on its earnings outlook. 

Kohl's and J.C. Penney, meantime, have cut their store hours. 

Many retailers, including NikeApple, Glossier and Allbirds, have closed their stores temporarily to allow employees to be safe at home, and have encouraged consumers to stay home. In some states, however, all nonessential retail is being forced to close, according to local mandates. In that case, a retailer has no choice but to go dark. 

Some of the retailers are continuing to fulfill online orders, but it is unclear what type of consumer demand is being seen. 

Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom said he expects same-store sales declines for mall-based retailers, including department stores, to be "far worse than what we saw during the post 9-11 period and 2008 Great Recession." 

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