There was no Christmas cheer for Macy's (NYSE: M) as the challenging retail market overwhelmed its turnaround efforts during its most crucial season, and led to the announcement this week that it will be cutting more than 10,000 positions -- about 7% of its workforce.
In August, the department store chain announced it would be closing 100 stores; this week, Macy's identified 68 of them. Three have already closed their doors, 63 more will be closed by the spring, and two more will follow later in the year. About 30 more stores will close over the next few years.
The store closures will affect about 3,900 employees while an additional 6,200 will be restructured out of their jobs. Although some employees at stores being shuttered will be offered jobs in other Macy's locations, the retailer's need for "greater efficiency and productivity" means it needs to wield mighty blows with the layoff axe.
This is becoming a recurring theme for the retailer as last January it also dumped a load of coal in employees' stockings when it announced it was laying off 4,500 workers.
Macy's has been trying to turn around its flagging business in the face of the severe headwind of changing consumer shopping preferences. Between discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall's siphoning off shoppers at the low end, and Amazon.com taking customers away online, Macy's has been left struggling to turn a profit. Through the first three quarters of its fiscal year, Macy's saw net income tumble 73% to $144 million year over year. In the third quarter, sales fell 4.2%, with comparable sales down 2.1%. Year to date, they're down 5.2% and 3.5%, respectively.
As a result, Macy's now expects full-year earnings to be in the range of $2.95 to $3.10 per share, compared to its previous guidance of $3.15 to $3.40 per share.
"While our sales trend is consistent with the lower end of our guidance, we had anticipated sales would be stronger," said CEO Terry Lundgren. This shortfall is what necessitates these more dramatic steps to rightsize its store portfolio.
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Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned.