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Macy’s Closing 45 Stores to Start 2021

Time’s finally up for 45 Macy’s-owned stores.

A spokeswoman for Macy’s Inc. confirmed on Tuesday that the closures are part of the company’s previously disclosed three-year Polaris plan that called for significant closures, predominantly in tier C and D malls.

But when the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation a month later, Macy’s kept all doors open throughout 2020, and never provided any timeline for the closures except that the earmarked locations would close within 36 months.

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, some parts of the Polaris plan were put on hold, and others fine-tuned to meet new merchandising needs. Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette has been stressing the need to shrink in order to grow, and reviewing the strategy gave the retailer time to figure out where it needed to accelerate or pull back.

The retailer in October even tested the idea of “dark stores” to fulfill digital orders for the holiday season at two locations Littleton, Colo.’s Southwest Plaza and Dover Mall in Dover, Del. There is no word on the future of these locations.

It wasn’t immediately clear which locations were set for closure. CNBC first reported the closings on Tuesday, noting that the sites will close by the middle of 2021 and that liquidation sales were already underway at some locations. Macy’s has already notified store employees, it added.

The retailer in previous earnings conference calls also has not ruled out the possibility of more store closures. Back in May when the company reported preliminary results for the first quarter, reflecting the temporary store closure period when nonessential retailers closed to help curb the progression of the virus, former chief financial officer Paula Price said the company was reevaluating the store closing plan, noting that decisions will depend on projected sales and a store’s four-wall profitability.

Retailers typically conduct those reviews in the fourth quarter to see how the stores perform during the holidays. Store closure announcements usually follow in January.