Sales at Macy's plummeted by 29% in 2020, as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the retail industry and shopping malls — where most Macy's stores are located  — saw temporary and permanent closures. The department store chain and Bloomingdales parent company reported a net loss of $3.9 billion for the year ending January 30. This is compared to its $564 million profit for the year prior. Macy's is deeming 2021 its "recovery and rebuilding year" with plans to expand digital operations, close 36 of its over 700 stores, and add smaller retail locations. 

There are figures supporting the company's rosy outlook. Yesterday's results were better than previous quarters, but data shows Macy's has been struggling for years. Last February, before the pandemic, the company said it planned to close roughly 125 of its stores over three years and cut about 2,000 jobs. According to our data, Macy's hit a new low last year adding only 1,483 job openings in Q2.

2019 sales fell to $24.6 billion from $25 billion the year prior. Last year, the company’s declining stock led to its removal from the S&P 500.

Consumers' interest has been dwindling along with Macy's relevance for a while. On Facebook, Macy's count of likes reached a plateau in 2018 and has since seen a slight drop. Macy's Facebook mentions typically stay at a low rumble with a peak each year. 2017 saw its highest peak with 694,000 mentions. Its 2020 high was 273,000. Mentions are currently at 62,400.

The company's plan to win back customers involves an emphasis on e-commerce. It expects digital business to reach $10 billion in sales in the next three years. Macy's is also moving out of less-than-profitable American malls, expanding its off-price chains like Macy’s Backstage, and testing out smaller stores.

“We’ve got a lot of customers that don’t want to go to a mall, or the best mall in that town is not near their home, so they’re going to lifestyle centers, strip centers, they’re going to outlets,” Macy’s chief executive, Jeff Gennette, said in an interview yesterday. “Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, by and large, do not play there, and that’s what we’re testing.”

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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