Macy’s could face additional temporary store closures as surging novel coronavirus cases dent both tourist and foot traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.
CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts during a post-earnings call on Thursday that the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases nationwide are impeding the upscale retailer’s recovery and threatening to dampen the holiday shopping season, but prospects for a strong finish to 2020 are within reach, CNBC reported.
“COVID is surging again across the country, and that continues to impede our recovery in international tourism and urban areas. And the supply chains have opened up, yet problems remain,” Gennette said on the call.
Gennette’s comments came after reporting a 20% decrease in comparable sales during the latest quarter, offset slightly by a 27% increase in its online sales, Reuters reported.
And those e-commerce figures are expected to continue increasing “at a very aggressive rate” but will ultimately depend on whether states and cities shutter stores again, he said.
For instance, Simon Property Group was asked to close its Cielo Vista mall in El Paso, Texas, earlier this month, directly impacting Macy’s location there due to surging COVID-19 cases.
The CEO is optimistic, however, that shoppers will clamor to dress up again once the pandemic passes because people who “have been wearing the same clothes, lounging in active and in casual sportswear … they’re going to want to dress up,” CNBC reported.
“A vaccination is obviously on everybody’s mind … and I think there is going to be a surge of demand when that happens,” he said.
Craig Johnson of Customer Growth Partners told Reuters that while Macy’s most recent quarterly performance trailed that of the broader department store sector, holiday sales – which typically account for roughly 20% of all retailers’ annual sales – could still bolster end-of-year figures.
In turn, Gennette championed increased investments in the retailer’s fulfillment offerings, such as curbside pickup and same-day delivery, for that reason, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Looking to Holiday 2020, we know this year is different. … We have the right gifting assortment with newness from value to luxury, and our expanded fulfillment options allow customers to shop safely and conveniently, in-store or online,” Gennette told investors.
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