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Macy’s to close more stores despite solid holiday sales growth

By in Press Enterprise on January 4, 2018

By The Associated Press

Macy’s and J.C. Penney both reported holiday sales growth, offering encouraging signs that if department stores struggling to hold their own against online retailers had a decent period, other retailers did as well.

The results, announced Thursday, came after both retailers focused on improving their online services while highlighting more exclusive offerings. Low unemployment, a strong stock market and other factors set the stage for a good holiday season. The National Retail Federation believes retail sales could exceed its forecast for growth of 3.6 percent to 4 percent from a year ago and mark the best performance since 2014.

Much of that growth may go to online sellers, though, and Bain & Co. predicted that Amazon will account for half of the holiday 2017 sales growth. Many retailers, particularly department store chains, still have lots of challenges ahead as shoppers are increasingly buying online and shifting their spending more toward experiences.

Macy’s said sales at established stores rose 1 percent in the November-December period. That excludes licensed businesses and compares to a 2.7 percent drop a year ago. The company said active apparel, shoes, dresses, coats, fine jewelry, men’s tailored clothing, children’s fashions and home furnishings were all top performers.

However, it still expects an annual sales drop at established stores of 2.4 percent to 2.7 percent, and total revenue is forecast to fall 3.6 percent to 3.9 percent compared to a year earlier. Macy’s also says it will close another 11 stores, cut jobs and streamline non-store functions to save about $300 million. CEO Jeff Gennette says the company’s focus has been expanding online, stabilizing its stores and laying the foundation for growth.

Closures announced this week include stores in Novato (Marin County), Miami, Gainesville, Fla., Terre Haute, Ind., Fort Gratiot Township, Mich., Cincinnati, Ohio,
and Burlington, Vt.

The retailer also confirmed Thursday it will proceed […]    

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