coronavirus

Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette Says Shoppers' Reaction to Delta Variant Leads to Urban-Suburban Divide in Store Traffic

Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • Macy's CEO said Thursday that consumers across the country are shopping differently dependent upon where they live and their attitudes toward Covid.
  • "There is definitely the different psychology with suburban and the urban customers right now," CEO Jeff Gennette said.
  • Many of Macy's stores in suburbs are performing ahead of 2019 levels, he explained, as consumers in those areas feel more comfortable with more space to roam around.

Macy's said Thursday that consumers across the country are shopping differently dependent upon where they live and their attitudes toward Covid.

During the retailer's latest fiscal quarter, he said, some people were still not comfortable coming into a store, particularly those in urban areas such as New York City.

"There is definitely the different psychology with suburban and the urban customers right now," CEO Jeff Gennette said during an earnings conference call.

Many of Macy's stores in suburbs are performing ahead of 2019 levels, he explained, as consumers in those areas feel more comfortable with more space to roam around.

The company's city-based stores remain the most challenged as international tourism has yet to come back and people are more cautious about jamming into crowded spaces. Gennette cited Macy's flagship Herald Square location in Manhattan as an example of a shop that has yet to see visits return to pre-pandemic levels.

The locations in more densely populated metros will recover more as people return to work, Gennette added. But back-to-office plans have been shifting on account of the spreading delta variant, he cautioned.

"There are still pockets of the country where the stores business ... is off, and it's not correlated to vaccination rate, it's really the psychology of those customers," the CEO said.

New Covid-19 cases in the U.S. are once again rising at the fastest pace since the winter surge. The number of cases has been particularly severe in Southern states such as Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, where vaccination rates are low.

Macy's shares closed Thursday up nearly 20%, after the department store chain hiked its annual sales and profit outlook on upbeat second-quarter results.

Copyright CNBCs - CNBC
Contact Us