Macy's reimagines holiday season ahead of pandemic-era Thanksgiving Day Parade

'We need these moments of joy this year more than ever,' CEO Jeff Gennette said

Macy’s – famous for kicking off the holiday season with its televised Thanksgiving Day Parade -- said the company is expecting an “elongated” holiday shopping season during the coronavirus pandemic, with consumers beginning their shopping way in advance of Turkey Day.

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CEO Jeff Gennette said in a call with analysts Wednesday that nearly 50% of the total 2020 gift assortment will be led by items in beauty and home, as consumers will be less inclined to give experiential presents, such as Broadway show tickets, amid the uncertainty of large gatherings.

“America comes to us for celebration,” he said. “We are reimagining our iconic events that deliver the magic of the holidays from the Thanksgiving Day parade, and local tree lightings and holiday windows.”

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“We had a successful gifting strategy for [the] holiday of 2019, and we’re building on that for 2020, and believe the shift away from experiential gifting provides some upside for us,” Gennette added.

Gennette said Macy’s stores are taking actions to “disburse typical bottlenecks” and control occupancy levels to ensure customers and staff have a safe experience. Stores will have separate areas for returns versus pickups. The company is adjusting its promotional calendar to spread out traffic.

Because “America comes to Macy’s for celebration,” the company will also “help our customers celebrate at home with family and friends, whether it's writing letters to Santa to support our Believe campaign with Make-A-Wish or making a virtual visit to Santaland.”

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“2020 has been a challenging year for the country and we need these moments of joy this year more than ever,” he said.

Catering to online shoppers as well, Macy’s digital team will adjust assortments to meet trending demands including, improving product availability information and providing more shipping options and better clarity on delivery dates, Gennette said.

After announcing it would close around 125 stores in February, Macy’s Inc. is going to test their luck with smaller stores that are away from underperforming malls. Gennette said the company will open several smaller format off-mall Macy's and test a smaller format off-mall Bloomingdale's.

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The Cincinnati-based department store chain lost $431 million, or an adjusted 81 cents per share, as revenue sank 36% year-over-year to $3.56 billion. The results outpaced the $1.77 per share loss and $3.47 billion of revenue that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refintiv were anticipating.

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Macy’s lost $3.58 billion during the previous quarter.

Fox Business' Cortney Moore and Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.