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Macy's Black Friday to focus on online shopping with curbside pickups

by Nannie Ciantar (2020-07-13)


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Macy's is refashioning what the Black Friday sales bonanza events will look like in a pandemic after suffering a staggering $3.58 billion loss for its coronavirus-hit first quarter. 

CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts Wednesday that the department store will be pivoting its Black Friday business more toward online sales and will likely be going 'full force' with holiday marketing right after Halloween

It also will be staggering events to reduce customer traffic in the stores, and curbside pickup is going to be a 'big secret weapon' - a service it didn't offer during the holiday 2019 season.

'We have a very strong game plan about how we're going to keep this trend of digital going,' Gennette said during a conference call. 

Macy's is refashioning what the Black Friday sales bonanza events will look like in a pandemic after suffering a staggering $3.58 billion loss for its coronavirus-hit first quarter.

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The interior of Macy's flagship store in Manhattan is pictured packed with crowds during last year's Black Friday, a scenario that the retailer hopes not to repeat with more of a focus on online sales and curbside pickup

Crowds are pictured waiting to get into Macy's the night before Black Friday last year

'But when you think about Black Friday, if you think about the 10 days before Christmas, what does that mean in terms of traffic if people are nervous about gathering with crowds?

Everything is on the table right now.'

Gennette said that Macy's will release details about plans for Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally kicks off holiday shopping - in early September.

His comments came as Macy's released final results for its fiscal first quarter ended May 2, that showed how the shutdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus took a big financial toll on the retailer. 

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Macy's reported on Wednesday a massive $3.58 billion loss, or $11.53 per share, compared to a profit of $136 million, or 44 cents per share, compared to the same period a year ago. 

That included a pretax, non-cash goodwill and long-lived asset impairment charges of $3.1 billion and $80 million, respectively.

The adjusted loss was $2.03 per share. 

The loss reported comes after the global health crisis has forced brick-and-mortar retailers to tap credit lines, lay off employees and suspend dividends and buybacks in a bid to stay afloat.

'While our stores are reopened, we expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact the country for the remainder of the year,' Gennette said in a statement, adding that the retailer did not expect another total shutdown of stores.

Macy's, which also owns Bloomingdale's, said net sales for the first quarter through May 2 nearly halved to $3.02 billion.

'While our stores are reopened, we expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact the country for the remainder of the year,' Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette (pictured last year) said in a statement, adding that the retailer did not expect another total shutdown of stores

The retailer's results come as some of its peers, including J Crew, JCPenney and Neiman Marcus, have filed for bankruptcy after failing to cope with market uncertainties and mounting debt.

Macy's, which on June 25 said it would lay off about 3,900 employees in corporate and management positions in a bid to save cash, did not provide an updated outlook.

Macy's has faced a huge slump in traffic at its stores, especially those in malls and urban areas harder hit by lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, Gennette said on Wednesday.

Macy's results come as some of its peers, including J Crew, JCPenney and Neiman Marcus (pictured), have filed for bankruptcy after failing to cope with market uncertainties and mounting debt 

He doesn't expect the 'virtual disappearance of international tourism spending' to 'recover any time soon.'

In turn, Macy's has invested heavily in improving its digital business and personalized marketing, clearing out unsold inventory and offering services like curbside pickup. 

'Whether in staffing, fleet size, online initiatives, or real estate monetization, it (Macy's) is at last implementing the radical surgery that should have begun years ago,' said Craig Johnson, president at retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners.  

On a per-share basis, Macy's reported a net loss of $11.53 in the first quarter ended May 2 compared with a profit of 44 cents a year earlier.