Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) will cut 3,900 jobs as part of an effort to chop $630 million in costs. Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette is not taking a salary now, but that may change before the end of the year. Whatever he does make will be on top of the $10 million he made last year. He apparently is not giving that back, nor any of the $12 million he made in 2018 or the $11 million he made in 2017. Last year, he made 461 times the median compensation of his workers, which was $22,353. The U.S. poverty level for a family of four is based on an annual income of at or below $26,200.
As Gennette made the cuts, he said: “I want to thank all of our colleagues – those who have been active and those on furlough – for helping us get through this difficult time, and I want to express my deep gratitude to the colleagues who are departing for their service and contributions.”
Gennette did not thank his long-suffering shareholders, who have lived through an 80% drop in Macy’s stock price in the past two years. Much of that decline occurred before the onset of the pandemic, so Gennette cannot say the crisis is the sole reason for Macy’s poor performance. The retailer had net income of $564 million last year. That was down from $1.1 billion in 2018 and $1.7 billion in 2017 (which had 53 weeks).
Macy’s is a prime example of a national retailer that has been struggling for years, while closing stores and cutting other costs. The pandemic made this much worse, but a poor financial foundation has made the struggle brought on by COVID-19 even more challenging.
Gennette cannot cut his way out of the crisis. Macy’s still has to be repaired as the economic downturn ends. The evidence indicates that he has not been able to do that. There is scant reason to think that will change.