Macy's will close 100 of its 728 nationwide locations starting early next year, according to the company. In a press release Thursday, executives said they are closing stores in order to "concentrate... financial resources and talent on our better-performing locations." The targeted brick-and-mortar locations are still being selected, and won't be announced until later this year.
In addition to its famous Herald Square location, Macy's has outposts in Downtown Brooklyn and Kings Plaza, Rego Park and Flushing in Queens, Staten Island, and Parkchester in the Bronx.
The 2017 closures will exceed the number of Macy's closures in the last six years combined.
Macy's is the country's largest-scale department store—a retail concept that has struggled in recent years to compete with online retailers and discount stores. Reuters reports that shoppers are also increasingly interested in making big investments (in cars, electronics), over smaller clothing purchases. Earlier this year, Macy's announced its lowest quarterly earnings since the recession.
At its more profitable locations, Macy's says it's going to double down on personal shopping services, fine jewelry, and in-store events. (It hasn't helped the company's image that designer brands Michael Kors and Coach just announced they're pulling out of department stores.)
In breaking today's news, Macy's also played up its online offerings. "Customers nearly everywhere in America will have easy access to Macy's stores, with the additional convenience and increased functionality of our dynamic digital offering,” Macy's President Jeff Gennette stated. With money saved, the company is going to work on faster page-loading times for the online store, and a more logical search function.
The company also stated that the stores slated to close are still "cash flow positive," but have been declining steadily in recent years. In closing 100 stores, Macy's predicts it will lose about $1 billion in net sales.
"In the short term, our company's topline sales will be somewhat smaller, but the changes being made will position us to grow comparable sales more quickly," Genette, who is slotted to succeed Macy's CEO Terry Lindgren next year, said.
As for the employees at the impacted stores, Macy's said that it will announce closures to the workers before making them public. Workers "may be offered positions in nearby stores where possible," and those laid off will get severance packages, according to the company.
Janna Pea, a spokeswoman for the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union which represents Macy's workers in NYC, said Thursday that she had no intel on whether any NYC Macy's stores might be impacted. Earlier this summer, Macy's workers in NYC negotiated a new four-year contract, after threatening to strike. In addition to wage increases, workers secured lower insurance premiums. According to the union, more than 75% of the workers had been unable to afford the higher premiums.
UPDATE: RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum issued the following statement Thursday:
Macy’s needs to create an atmosphere where customers want to come to their stores. Macy’s has to be a special shopping experience made better by well-paid, happy employees that create a great customer experience when they shop. It is essential for Macy’s to invest in its people and its stores. Macy’s trying to just become another Amazon would be a mistake.