Macy’s to Open 68 Stores In 5 States Next Week

April 30, 2020 Updated: April 30, 2020

Macy’s will reopen 68 stores on Monday in states where restrictions on business have been relaxed, Chief Executive Jeff Gennette said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

He said the stores are in Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, and they will operate under a tighter safety regimen, including with reduced hours of 11 a.m to 7 p.m.

Macy’s anticipates all 775 of its stores will open within six weeks, a spokesperson told CNBC. The company’s retail operations were shuttered on March 18.

“The COVID-19 outbreak continues to take a heavy toll on Macy’s, Inc. business. Our top priority is the health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities during this unprecedented crisis,” the company said in a March 30 business update, adding that all stores would stay closed “until we have clear line of sight on when it is safe to reopen.”

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A view of Macy’s flagship store in the Herald Square neighborhood of New York City, on May 12, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In the past week, around 20 Macy’s stores have been offering curbside pickup. While its digital business has seen increased traffic amid the pandemic, Macy’s said it lost the majority of its sales due the outbreak.

The outbreak of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, has spread widely across the world, sparking unprecedented containment and mitigation measures, including stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns.

Businesses and employees have struggled to adapt to the new situation, with Macy’s announcing staff furloughs, suspending payout of dividends to investors, and drawing down their line of credit.

Customers returning to its stores will face a sharply different shopping experience, with signs reminding them to stay six feet apart, plexiglass separating queuers from cashiers, and the number of fitting rooms reduced.

“We’re not sure customers will want to use fitting rooms,” Gennette told The Wall Street Journal. “We think they will buy, try on at home and return what they don’t want.”

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Customers leave a Macy’s store in Chicago, Illinois, on Feb. 2, 2009. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Staff will be temperature-checked before going on shift, will be required to wear masks, and will clean payment card keypads after each use.

They will also have to tell customers they can only try on jewelry and watches if they first sanitize their hands.

Encouraged by signs of the pandemic curve flattening, states across the country have started to ease lockdown measures, including Florida, Alaska, Georgia, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, and Tennessee, while some states including Michigan and North Carolina have extended their social distancing guidelines into May.

Meanwhile, two top trade groups representing major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy are urging governors to implement uniform reopening standards that would help businesses resume operation more smoothly.

In a six-page memo to governors (pdf), the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation outlined a three-phased plan for how stores can safely resume operations. The guidelines call for retailers to deploy “robust” health and safety protocols, including around social distancing, hygiene, and sanitation.

The three-pronged approach to reopening issued by the trade groups echoes the three-phase plan released by the White House earlier this month, which gave guidelines for easing restrictions in areas with a low transmission rate of the virus, while keeping them in place in harder-hit locations.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the White House will not be extending its social distancing guidelines that are set to expire on May 1 as more states look to re-open their economies.

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