Macy's to Furlough Most of Its Employees Amid Coronavirus Shutdown

Macy's will furlough most of its employees beginning this week.
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Macy's  (M) - Get Report said Monday it will furlough most of its workers beginning this week as the mass store closings caused by the coronavirus pandemic "continues to take a heavy toll" on the department store operator.  

Shares were off slightly to $5.50.

All of the Cincinnati-based company's stores have been closed since March 18. Scores of retailers have been forced to shut their doors as municipalities and states issue stay-at-home or social distancing orders to help stop the spread of the deadly disease.

Macy's didn't say how many employees would be affected by the furloughs.

"While the digital business remains open, we have lost the majority of our sales due to the store closures," the company said in a statement. "We’ve already taken measures to maintain financial flexibility, including suspending the dividend, drawing down our line of credit, freezing both hiring and spending, stopping capital spend, reducing receipts, cancelling some orders and extending payment terms, and we are evaluating all other financing options."

"While these actions have helped, it is not enough," Macy's said.

The company said it will be moving to the absolute minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations across the Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury brands.

Macy's said there will be fewer furloughs in its digital business, supporting distribution centers and call centers so the company can continue to serve our customers online.

 At least through May, furloughed employees who are enrolled in health benefits will continue to receive coverage with the company covering 100% of the premium. 

"We expect to bring colleagues back on a staggered basis as business resumes," Macy's said.

Macy’s had about 130,000 employees, excluding seasonal staff, as of Feb. 2.