Macy’s CEO says sales down 50%, less than feared, as stores reopen

The decline is better than the 85% drop in sales the retailer predicted

Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette (Getty)
Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette (Getty)

As Macy’s reopens its stores, sales are down 50 percent — better than the retailer’s grim expectations of an 85 percent decline. So CEO Jeff Gennette is calling it a win.

Gennette said during a virtual conference Tuesday that Macy’s sales since beginning to open stores indicate that the steep decline in retail sales is only temporary, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The lure of having appropriate fashion from our customer, all the way from mass or off-price to luxury, is still incredibly potent,” he said during the conference. “And while it looks in certain categories grim right now, I don’t think that’s forever.”

Kohl’s is reporting similar results. Its CEO Michelle Gass said at the same event that Kohl’s stores are seeing about three-quarters of its pre-pandemic sales volume now, up from roughly two-thirds in late May.

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Macy’s began reopening stores in early May and by this week 400 stores will be open again, including its flagship store at Herald Square, which was looted last week.

On Tuesday, Macy’s announced a preliminary loss of $652 million as of May 2 for the prior three months, compared to a $136 million profit during the same period last year. The day before, the retailer said it had secured a $4.5 billion financing package to help with debt obligations and operating costs.

Its flagship location is planned to be partly converted into office space, and Gennette said Tuesday that he sees hair and nail services as “tangential” businesses that could become “quite big and important” to Macy’s going forward. [WSJ] — Erin Hudson

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