Virus cases cast shadow over Macy's outlook

Macy’s star may be shining less brightly this autumn. The department store chain’s quarterly comparable sales dropped by more than a fifth. And it warns that sales will continue to decline into the fall season.

That signals a tough holiday shopping period for a retailer that symbolizes the holiday spirit with its annual Thanksgiving parade. Battered by the health crisis, Macy’s has laid off thousands of workers, and sales have been plunging due to outlet closures.

CEO Jeff Gennette said the company is keeping an eye on the potential impact the rising wave of COVID-19 cases may have on its business. The surge of infections over the last two weeks has raised fears that that could keep people away from shopping at stores in the holiday season.

Over the last three months, the company suffered an adjusted net loss of $60 million as its sales plunged 23%. That loss was a lot smaller than Wall Street expected. But investors pummeled Macy’s shares Thursday, driving them sharply lower in early trading. The stock has already shed nearly half its value this year.