Macy's to furlough most of 130,000 employees as stores stay shut

(Reuters) - Macy's Inc said on Monday it would furlough most of its 130,000-strong workforce starting this week as all stores of the department chain operator have been temporarily shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like many retailers, Macy's has already said it would suspend quarterly dividend and withdrew its 2020 sales and profit forecasts in response to the uncertainty and financial hit from the store closures.

The company said on Monday the store closures had severely dented a majority of its sales, despite the online business staying up and running.

"We've already taken measures to maintain financial flexibility ... While these actions have helped, it is not enough," the company said in a statement

Macy's earlier this month said it would borrow $1.5 billion from a revolving credit facility to brace for the impact from the pandemic, which has killed 34,000 people across the globe.

The company said it would maintain the "absolute minimum" workforce needed to maintain basic operations across its Macy's, Bloomingdales and Bluemercury brands.

At least through May, furloughed employees enrolled in health benefits will continue to receive coverage, with the company covering the premium amount.

The retailer added there would be fewer furloughs in its digital business, which is still operational, supporting distribution centers and call centers.

Macy's said it planned to bring back employees on a staggered basis once business resumes.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)