Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette says the retailer will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic as a smaller company; shares fall

The entrance to a Macy’s department store.

Jeffrey Greenberg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Macy’s told analysts Thursday that it is well into the financing process to raise debt, to come up with additional liquidity during the coronavirus pandemic

“We have been engaged in this process for a while,” Chief Financial Officer Paula Price said during a virtual fireside chat with Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom. “We have identified lead banks. … [We’re] confident we will have a deal closed and funded well in advance of when we need additional liquidity.” 

CNBC had previously reported that Macy’s was weighing raising as much as $5 billion in debt to weather the coronavirus crisis. 

Price said Thursday that the company’s strongest assets, to use as collateral to raise the debt, include its inventory and unencumbered real estate. 

Macy’s still has close to the full $1.5 billion on hand that it pulled down last month from its credit revolver, she said. The department store chain has been able to delay monthly rent payments with some of its landlords, Price said, adding it was one of the measures it has taken to preserve cash. 

Chief Executive Jeff Gennette, meantime, on Thursday walked analysts through Macy’s plans to reopen its stores, which have been shut due to the pandemic since March 18. It will open 68 locations Monday, in states including South Carolina and Georgia, where local lockdown restrictions have been loosened. It plans to have all of its locations reopened over the next six to eight weeks, he said, provided Covid-19 infection rates continue to taper off

Ahead of the virus slamming the U.S. economy and drastically changing the retail landscape, Macy’s in February announced it planned to shut 125 of its stores over the next three years

When asked about any changes to that plan, Gennette said Thursday the company is still “debating” whether or not it will accelerate its rate of store closures. Right now, “that [125] still makes sense for us,” the CEO said. 

Price, notably, is set to depart Macy’s effective May 31, the company previously announced. It has yet to name her replacement. 

Macy’s shares were recently down about 7%. The stock has fallen more than 66% this year. Macy’s has a market value of about $1.8 billion. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *