More than 900 employees affected: Department-store operator Macy’s Inc. said today it will close 11 underperforming stores in nine states—affecting 960 employees—and lowered its forecast for the fourth quarter after one of the weakest holiday seasons in years. The stores are located in Los Angeles; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Westminster, Colo.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Hawaii; Indianapolis; Brooklyn Center, Minn.; St. Louis; Natrona Heights, Pa.; West Mifflin, Pa.; and Nashville, Tenn. Cincinnati-based Macy’s Inc. says the closures will cost about $65 million, most of which will be booked in the 2008 fourth quarter. Clearance sales at the stores begin next week.
No New York: New York & Company, a women’s clothing chain, says it plans to close between 40 and 50 underperforming stores over the next five years. The company, which has about 600 locations in U.S. malls, also plans to cut more than 300 managerial positions. The chain has been a victim of the national recession, as shoppers cut back spending in the face of a housing slump and mounting job losses. New York & Company has nine stores in Louisiana, including locations in the Mall of Louisiana and the Mall at Cortana.
Even Wal-Mart affected: Retailers reported dismal sales figures for December today as even Wal-Mart Stores Inc., one of the bright spots in the industry, finally buckled under the pressures of the deteriorating economy. Among the many retailers that reported steep sales declines were Sears Holdings Corp., which operates Kmart (1.1% decrease) and Sears (7.3%) stores, luxury retailers Saks Inc. (19.8%) and Neiman Marcus Group (27.5%), and apparel retailers Limited Brands Inc. (10.0%), Gap Inc. (14.0%), Wet Seal Inc. (12.5%) and Abercrombie and Fitch (24.0%). But the biggest surprise came from Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, which posted a smaller sales gain (1.2%) than what Wall Street expected and cut its fourth-quarter earnings outlook.