Macy’s Sees Positive Impact from COVID Vaccinations, Stimulus Checks

Rhode Island Macy's in Providence
Beppe Castro /

Many retailers have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns and restrictions, but at least one of them has begun to see an uptick in business thanks to the combination of stimulus checks and vaccination rollouts.

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Macy’s, Inc. CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC on Tuesday that his company’s business is already up 10% this year from the fiscal fourth quarter, and he attributed part of the increase to the COVID-19 vaccine program getting underway in the United States.

The New York-based department store chain, comprised of Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury brands, had already begun to see encouraging signs during its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 1.

In a press release at the time, Gennette said the Q4 results “exceeded our expectations across all three of our brands.” He gave much of the credit to the company’s digital innovations, which helped push quarterly digital sales up 21% from a year earlier.

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This quarter, Macy’s has gotten an additional lift from the $1,400 stimulus payments sent to U.S. households, Gennette told CNBC.

Digital sales will become a bigger part of the retailer’s top-line growth as it continues to trim its bricks-and-mortar operation.

As USA Today reported in late February, Macy’s still plans to close more stores despite better-than-expected holiday sales. Stores due to close are located in 19 states, with most losing one or two locations by the end of this month. The latest round of closures is part of a three-year plan by Macy’s to shutter 20% of its stores, or about 125 locations.

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        About the Author

        Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte MagazineStreet & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, will be published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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