Macy’s slashes opening hours for all its stores amid skyrocketing Covid cases

Macy’s flagship store in New York’s Herald Square, December 23, 2021.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Macy’s is slashing store opening hours for the rest of the month as the United States sees a spike in coronavirus cases and retailers grapple with staff shortages.

Macy’s system wide opening hours will be changed Monday through Thursday from 11:00 to 20:00 until the end of January. Previously, according to Macy’s website, some establishments opened at 10 am and closed at 9 pm.

Store opening hours will remain unchanged from Friday to Sunday, a company spokeswoman said. She added that staff at Macy’s will continue to work during normal hours. According to data on its website, the retailer operates 516 total Macy’s department stores and 33 Bloomingdale’s stores.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and follow CDC and jurisdictional guidelines, and maintain enhanced security and welfare procedures,” the spokeswoman said in an email statement.

Macy’s did not comment on whether more of its employees are seeing positive results for Covid-19.

The US reported 1 million new cases of Covid on Monday. The record number of new infections in a single day may have been boosted by delays in reporting over the Christmas and New Year holidays, but highly contagious Covid variants are also on the rise.

Americans were also more likely to spread the virus when they got together with friends and family and traveled during the holidays. Early research showed that Covid vaccines are less effective against omicron compared to the delta strain and other options.

Retailers and restaurant chains across the country are developing new plans to tackle the latest wave of Covid cases caused by the omicron variant. Large-box retailer Walmart temporarily closed about 60 U.S. stores in coronavirus hotspots last month to sanitize them.

Apple, meanwhile, is providing limited service in some of its stores in the New York area. including the flagship on Fifth Avenue… The electronics retailer has also cut opening hours and limited the number of customers allowed in its stores, according to its website.

Craig Rowley, Senior Account Partner at Korn ferry and the head of the company’s retail practice, said the recent spate of coronavirus cases that left workers unemployed exacerbated an already shortage of labor in the retail and restaurant business.

He said it was encouraging that retailers were mostly in the midst of the holiday shopping season before massive outbreaks of the virus began to recur. The number of Covid-19 cases in New York City began to skyrocket in mid-December.

“Retailers love where they can plan, anticipate and structure, and with that they can’t,” Rowley said.

Also in New York, an employee at a Nike store on the Upper East Side said the store’s opening hours were cut from noon to 5:00 pm this week, compared to the usual 11:00 to 7:00 pm schedule. Athleta’s office, also located on the Upper East Side, now closes at 7:00 pm instead of 8:00 pm, a store employee said by phone.

Gap, the parent company of Nike and Athleta, did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding store opening hours.

These adjustments may not have a significant impact on sales if retailers can perform well enough over the weekend, Rowley said.

“Most retail sales [in stores] happen closer to the weekend, – he said. – Many restaurants are no longer open seven days a week. … If someone really needs something, they can order it online and deliver it to your home the next day. “

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