This holiday saw mixed results at leading department stores
The Christmas season saw mixed results at leading department stores: A weak holiday will cost 4,500 workers their jobs at Macy’s, but J.C. Penney saw progress in its quest to become cash-flow positive.
Macy’s comps, which include the Bloomingdale’s chain, declined 4.7 percent during the combined November–December period. The company said 80 percent of the drop was created by decreased sales of cold-weather outerwear due to the unseasonably warm temperatures this winter. Digital sales remained a rare bright spot for the department store, generating double-digit increases.
The company plans to lay off approximately 4,500 workers: 3,000 in its stores, 165 senior executives, 600 back-office employees, and 640 in its call centers. The company is also moving ahead with its previously announced plans to close 36 stores. The affected locations can be seen here.
The news was better at J.C. Penney, which announced that comps for November and December periods rose 3.9 percent, despite also taking a hit in sales of winter gear. It also saw record online sales.
It expects to generate positive free cash flow in fiscal 2015.