The COVID-19 pandemic has badly hurt Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) revenue. It also caused the company to bolster its balance sheet. However, just as it started to open stores, COVID-19 began a rapid spread across the United States. Macy’s prospects are in deep danger again.
Macy’s stock sold down 60% when the pandemic initially caused most retailers to close some, if not all, of their stores. Other challenges to brick-and-mortar retailers have pushed it down over 75% in the past two years. A lingering opinion long before the pandemic was that Macy’s would become the next J.C. Penney or Sears. Rivals like Lord & Taylor have filed for Chapter 11 in the past two months.
Macy’s is a national retailer with about 600 Macy’s stores and another 55 that carry the Bloomingdales brand.
In early July, Macy’s said it would reopen most of its stores. A great deal of financial damage already had begun. In the most recent quarter, revenue was $3.0 billion, down from $5.5 billion in the same period a year ago. It posted a net loss of $3.5 billion, compared to a profit of $136 million in the year-ago period.
Macy’s has raised $4.5 billion. If the pandemic causes a national shut down of retailers again, that sum, although large, may not be enough. This is particularly true if its stores are shut down for months. Macy’s stock hints at that risk. Its market cap has dropped to $2 billion, for a company that did $25 billion in revenue last year.
It would be a mistake to believe that the shoring up of Macy’s balance sheet will ensure it can make it through the pandemic. The spread could go on and get worse into fall and winter. Macy’s must have at least some store sales to keep it alive.