Macy's CEO says company is already benefiting from vaccinations and stimulus checks

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC on Tuesday the uptick in U.S. Covid-19 vaccinations is already having a positive effect on the company’s top line.

Gennette said business from loyal Macy’s customers is already up by 10% from the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in late January. Macy’s is just two months its current fiscal quarter.

“That’s clearly the vaccine starting to take root,” he told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview. “We’re still taking a conservative view to this year. We’re more conservative in the front half than the back half, but it’s positive momentum that we’re bringing into this quarter with us.”

Macy’s said in its fourth-quarter report that it reached 7 million new customers during that time period, with 4 million of them coming through digital channels. Gennette said Tuesday that growth was driven in large part by younger and online shoppers, who spent 8% more on Macy’s products on a year-over-year basis.

Some of that momentum was sparked by the latest rounds of stimulus checks, the executive said.

“They’re younger, they’re more diverse,” he said of Macy’s newest shoppers. “The good news is that the core customer … trend is improving as they start to get the vaccination. [We’re] starting to see the activity digitally and in the stores.”

Macy’s reported that online sales increased 21% and made up 44% of net sales last quarter. The retailer’s brick-and-mortar challenges were multiplied as more consumers flocked to the internet to shop.

However, the company has bolstered its e-commerce efforts. Gennette said Macy’s engineered a “hard pivot” to online over the past year and looks to leverage its physical locations, where 25% of digital orders are being fulfilled.

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The digital business grew by 25% last year from $6 billion in 2019. The company hopes to grow that to $10 billion over the next three years, Gennette said.

“What people may not know is that we’re No. 2 in our categories in the nation and we were able to hold our market share in 2020,” he said. “Digital is enabled by having strong brick and mortar”



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