Live updates on stock market and business news during the coronavirus outbreak.
The company said that as a result, it will furlough the majority of its employees this week and maintain the absolute minimum work force needed to maintain basic operations, according to a statement. There will be fewer furloughs among employees supporting the digital business at call centers and distribution centers. Macys had 125,000 part-time and full-time employees at the end of last year.
The move shows the strain that the pandemic is placing on retailers selling goods that are considered nonessential. Many department stores and mall chains had already been weakened in recent years by the rise of e-commerce and a drop in foot traffic at malls. A complete closure of stores and a shift in consumer spending is dealing a new blow to such companies and their many employees.
Macys also said that it had already stopped capital spending and paying a dividend. It has also drawn down its line of credit and canceled some orders.
Retail workers have been affected across the board. L Brands, which owns Victorias Secret and Bath & Body Works, said it would furlough most store staff and those who are not currently working to support the online businesses or who cannot work from home starting April 5. Nordstrom said last week that it would furlough a portion of corporate employees on April 5 for six weeks. Rent the Runway laid off its retail employees through a Zoom call on Friday, according to The Verge, while Everlane laid off and furloughed nearly 300 of its workers.
Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the United States, said on Monday that it would impose pay cuts and furloughs on its staff, making it the latest news company to acknowledge that reader interest prompted by the coronavirus pandemic has not made up for a sharp downturn in advertising revenue.
Employees learned of the austerity plan through a memo sent by Paul Bascobert, the chief executive of Gannetts operating company.
In the memo, which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Bascobert said that advertising had fallen off, despite an increase in web traffic and subscriptions. Overall, though, he added, we expect our revenue to decline considerably during this period.