More than a month after all of its stores were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Macy's announced on Thursday it plans on reopening each one within the next six to eight weeks.
Macy's is one of the largest department store chains in the United States, and its goal is to reopen 775 Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Bluemercury stores, starting with 68 stores in Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas on Monday.
Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette said the company expects these reopened stores to initially bring in 15 to 20 percent of their usual business, and will "slowly build" from there, The New York Times reports. The big question is whether shoppers will show up. "We'll see how they respond, and based on that, we'll be a lot smarter," he said. Gennette also said April sales were "stronger than we expected," but Macy's cannot handle all of its stores being closed for an extended period of time.
There will be social distancing guidelines at the stores, and employees will have to wear masks. Beauty counters will not be able to give consultations or have testers out, and a limited number of fitting rooms will be open. At least temporarily, there will be no bra fittings or alteration or ear piercing services, and shoppers will have to use hand sanitizer before trying on jewelry or watches.
Macy's has furloughed 123,000 employees amid the pandemic. Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, told the Times that some union members "have worked for Macy's for three or four decades, and it is their lives that will be put on the line. We have asked for information on how they intend to protect their employees and they have provided us with none. I am stupefied by their behavior."
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