Macy’s on Thursday said by email that it will close four mall-based stores, in Los Angeles; Fort Collins, Colorado; Oahu, Hawaii; and Gaithersburg, Maryland.
In November, Chief Financial Officer Adrian Mitchell told analysts the department store anticipated shuttering fewer than 10 stores in January, in line with its 2021 decision to delay its full-line closures.
Closing many of the full-line stores that anchor malls across the country has been a key part of Macy’s Polaris turnaround strategy, first announced in 2020 just before the pandemic derailed it. The effort goes beyond simply shrinking the department store’s massive footprint to include adding smaller locations.
Four small format, off-mall Market by Macy’s stores opened last year, for a total of eight so far, along with 42 off-price Backstage stores, for a total of more than 300, a Macy’s spokesperson said by email. The first Bloomie’s store opened in 2021. As of the third quarter last year, the company’s stores also included 445 full-line Macy’s locations, 46 furniture stores, 32 full-line Bloomingdale’s locations and 20 Bloomingdale’s outlets.
“As part of our Polaris transformation strategy, we continue to optimize and reposition our store fleet to ensure we have the right mix of on-mall and off-mall stores to better serve our customers and effectively support omnichannel market sales growth,” the spokesperson said.
The four full-line closures are part of that, and affected employees will be offered a role in nearby locations or severance packages, the spokesperson also said.
The tack is an about-face for a retailer that in recent memory was still expanding through the aquisition of a slew of local chains, despite the general decline of the full-line department store model. Macy’s move to include more small stores within its fleet is an acknowledgment of that and a sign of the diminishing returns of the mall-anchor approach.