A person looks inside a closed Macy’s Inc. department store near Union Square in San Francisco, California, United States on Thursday, June 18, 2020.
Michael Kurz | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Macy’s said Thursday that consumers across the country behave differently based on where they live and how they view Covid.
During the retailer’s final fiscal quarter, he said, some people still felt uncomfortable walking into a store, especially in urban areas like New York City.
“Right now there is definitely a different psychology between suburban and urban customers,” said CEO Jeff Gennette during a conference call on the results.
Many of Macy’s stores in the suburbs are better than in 2019, he said, as consumers are more comfortable in those areas with more space to walk around.
The company’s urban businesses remain the most challenged as international tourism has not yet returned and people are more careful about getting stuck in crowded spaces. Gennette cited Macy’s flagship Manhattan location, Herald Square, as an example of a store where visitors have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The locations in more densely populated subways will recover more when people return to work, Gennette added. But due to the expanding delta variant, the back-to-office plans are shifting, he warned.
“There are still parts of the country where the business of doing business … is down and it doesn’t correlate with vaccination rate, it’s really the psychology of those customers,” said the CEO.
New Covid-19 cases in the US are increasing again fastest in the US since the winter surge. The number of cases was particularly severe in southern states such as Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, where vaccination rates are low.
Macy’s shares rose more than 15% in early trading after the department store chain raised its annual sales and earnings outlook on positive results for the second quarter.