Macy's to reveal store to close in January

Jon Harris/The Morning Call - While Macy's still plans to close 100 of its stores, the struggling retailer's downsizing will not affect the Christmas shopping you plan to do at any of the department store chain's locations.

That's because Macy's won't reveal the stores that will close until after Santa has left that polo, blazer or perfume under the tree.

The retailer will announce the majority of the targeted stores by the end of January, spokeswoman Elina Kazan said. The remaining stores will be announced later in 2017, she said.

Earlier this month, Macy's announced its plan to close about 100 full-line stores — out of a portfolio of 728 stores, including 675 full-line locations. Macy's is making the changes to "drive profitable growth, enhance shareholder value and strengthen Macy's as America's preferred omnichannel shopping destination."

On the same day as the announcement, Macy's reported second-quarter sales of $5.8 billion, down about 4 percent from $6.1 billion during the same period a year earlier.

The announcement came just months after Macy's closed 36 locations.

In a news release, Macy's President Jeff Gennette said that while nearly all of the stores to be closed are cash-flow positive, the volume and profitability of those locations has been declining steadily in recent years. "We recognize that these locations do not yield an adequate return on investment and often do not represent a customer shopping experience that reflects our aspirations for the Macy's brand," he said.

But the Macy's at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township is not expected to be targeted, one retail analyst told The Morning Call earlier this month.

"If you look at the mall, it performs extremely well," said analyst Jeff Green, owner of Jeff Green Partners in Phoenix. "You've got to assume that the Macy's also performs well."

One location that may not be safe, however, is the Macy's at the Montgomery Mall in North Wales, Montgomery County, about 40 miles from the Lehigh Valley Mall location.

That location was one of 28 Macy's stores identified as "most at risk of closing" by Morningstar Credit Ratings in a report Aug. 17. The 28 stores reported sales that were less than Macy's 2014 national average, according to Morningstar.

The Montgomery Mall location, the only Pennsylvania Macy's on the list, did sales per square foot of $133, according to Morningstar.

Macy's stock closed at $38.19 on Tuesday, down 50 cents from its previous close. A year ago, Macy's stock closed at $58.61.