Macy's to close 68 stores, 4 in Philadelphia area

Thursday, January 5, 2017
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Macy's says it is eliminating more than 10,000 jobs and plans to move forward with 68 store closures.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Macy's says it is eliminating more than 10,000 jobs, and plans to move forward with 68 store closures after a disappointing holiday shopping season. The department store chain also lowered its full-year earnings forecast.

The retailer said Wednesday sales at established stores fell 2.1 percent in November and December compared to the same period last year. Macy's Inc. pointed to changing consumer behavior and said it reflects challenges facing much of the retail industry.

The company said it plans to close by mid-year the 68 stores that are part of 100 closings announced in August.

News of a Macy's in Bensalem closing its doors by year's end came as no surprise and little disappointment from most of the shoppers we talked to.

"I think they're way overpriced for one. So I mean I'm not that upset about it to be quite honest," said Jacienda Rodriguez of Northeast Philadelphia.

In a statement, Macy's said in part:

"We continue to experience declining traffic in our stores where the majority of our business is still transacted.

"Our omnichannel strategies continue to evolve based on the changes in our customers' shopping behaviors, including a focus on buy online, pickup in store and mobile-enabled shopping."

Economist Dr. Joel Naroff said, put simply, spending habits are changing and some brick and mortar stores are struggling to keep up.

"The recession caused an awful lot of people to change their shopping patterns. They're no longer shopping until they drop, and, of course, there's the internet, which is deflecting an awful lot of retail sales," said Joel Naroff, Ph.D., Naroff Economic Advisors.

And Naroff says it's no passing fad - every year, more and more consumers make their purchases online.

But shoppers tell us with these Macy's stores, it may be more than that.

"I am absolutely not an online shopper, so that's not true for me," said Rodriguez.

"For this one here they don't have a lot in stock. The shelves are empty, the racks are empty," said Yvonne Nush of Bensalem.

Four stores will close in our area:

Moorestown, Moorestown, NJ (200,000 square feet; opened in 1999; 107 associates);

Neshaminy, Bensalem, PA (211,000 square feet; opened in 1968; 89 associates);

Plymouth Meeting, Plymouth Meeting, PA (214,000 square feet; opened in 1966; 74 associates);

Voorhees Town Center, Voorhees, NJ (224,000 square feet; opened in 1970; 77 associates);

All four locations combined employ 347 associates.

Macy's also plans to restructure parts of its business and sell some properties. The moves are estimated to save $550 million annually.

Shares in Macy's fell more than 8 percent in after-hours trading.