Macy’s to close 68 low-performing stores, including 1 in Triangle

Macy’s is closing 68 stores, including its store at Northgate Mall in Durham.
Macy’s is closing 68 stores, including its store at Northgate Mall in Durham. Ethan Hyman

Macy’s says it is eliminating more than 10,000 jobs and plans to move forward with 68 store closures after a disappointing holiday shopping season. The department store chain also lowered its full-year earnings forecast.

The company said the 68 store closures are part of the 100 it announced in August. Of the 68, three were closed by the middle of 2016, 63 will close in the spring and two will be closed by the middle of 2017. Some workers may be offered positions at nearby stores but Macy’s estimates that 3,900 employees will be affected by the closures.

The Macy’s at Northgate Mall in Durham is one of two North Carolina stores that will close this year. The store, which opened in 1994, has 72 employees, according to the company. The other closure is at Carolina Place in Pineville, near Charlotte.

At Northgate, clearance sales will begin Monday and run for 8 to 12 weeks, according to a Macy’s spokesman.

Macy’s also has stores at Crabtree Valley Mall and Triangle Town Center in Raleigh and the Streets at Southpoint in Durham. Those will remain open.

The retailer said Wednesday that sales at its established stores fell 2.1 percent in November and December compared with the same period last year. Macy’s pointed to changing consumer behavior and said its performance reflects the challenges facing much of the retail industry.

Kohl’s Corp. also reported disappointing holiday shopping numbers Wednesday.

Macy’s also said it plans to restructure parts of its business and sell some properties. This will lead to the reduction of 6,200 jobs. The moves are estimated to save $550 million annually.

Overall, Macy’s said, the job reductions represent about 7 percent of its workforce.

The company, which owns the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s brands, has been struggling with declining traffic in its stores, where the bulk of its business is still conducted. It said it is closing stores that are “unproductive or are no longer robust shopping destinations” as well as selling those with highly valued real estate.

It plans to invest some of its savings in growing its digital business.

Macy’s said it now expects to earn between $2.95 and $3.10 per share on an adjusted basis for its 2016 fiscal year, versus its prior forecast of $3.15 to $3.40 per share. The company is scheduled to report full results in February.

Shares in Macy’s fell nearly 10 percent to $32.30 in after-hours trading.

Staff writer Mary Cornatzer contributed.