As states relax lockdown policies amid signs the coronavirus pandemic could be stabilizing, retailers are jumping at the opportunity to flip on the lights at brick-and-mortar stores left dark and empty since the middle of March. And Dillard’s Inc. is the latest to announce plans to reopen 55 stores starting Tuesday.
On Friday, the Arkansas-based department store operator said stores will reopen in 11 states, with additional locations eyed for a reboot based on local regulations. Select stores in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah are slated to reopen next week, Dillard’s said.
The news comes on the heels of retailers including Five Below, Macy’s and Chico’s, in addition to mall group Simon, announcing plans to begin operating a limited cadre of stores and properties again in a bid to jumpstart revenue as COVID-19 threatens the retail bottom line. Despite a growing number of stores opening for business, consumers can expect to find a noticeably different experience, as social-distancing signage and face masks and gloves will become a retail fixture for the foreseeable future.
Dillard’s has relied on its e-commerce platform to serve customers during the pandemic pause, with some store associates at brick-and-mortar doors and its Maumelle, Ark., online fulfillment center assisting with digital orders. In addition to its web store, the Little Rock, Ark.-based retailer operates 257 store locations and 28 clearance centers across 29 states primarily in the Southeastern, Southwestern and Midwestern regions.
Though stores will soon begin generating cash flow, that likely will not be sufficient to prop up Dillard’s bottom line. As a result, the company, like many others in the discretionary retail sector, said it has amended its $800 million senior unsecured revolving credit facility. Secured by inventory, the facility has a $200 million expansion option and a maturity date of Aug. 9, 2022.
“There are no financial covenant requirements under the amended credit agreement provided availability exceeds $100 million,” the company said. And because the company repaid the $779 million borrowed under the previous agreement on March 25, it will have no borrowings under the amended credit facility, as of May 2.