Have some empathy for Macy’s — and for the many other “bricks-and-mortar” retailers grappling with harsh new business realities while trying to be seen as responsible corporate citizens.
Macy’s has just announced that it’s closing 68 stores and cutting 10,000 jobs, tacit acknowledgement of the retailing tremors being generated by the growing success of online purchasing. (Almost simultaneously, Amazon announced plans to add 100,000 employees: “Amazon will add 100,000 Jobs as Bricks-Mortar Retail Crumbles“.)
Mark Cohen, a professor at Columbia Business School, captured Macy’s dilemma in a single sentence: “It is a very hard day for the folks involved obviously, but I would say it’s inevitable.”
Professor Cohen also predicted, “And there’s definitely more to come.”
Even as it is cutting operations to protect profitability — and, ultimately, viability — Macy’s is working to preserve its hard-earned reputation as a caring company:
A Macy’s full-page ad in The New York Times (part of an ongoing campaign) — appearing only a few days after the layoff/store closings announcement, proclaimed “the magic of giving back.”
“Macy’s has donated more than $52 million this year alone  …
“Giving back in communities where we live.
We’re proud to be a good neighbor and support thousands of local charities across the country. Our associates also volunteer more than 160,000 hours of service each year through our employee volunteerism program.”
One might note that the donations were “then”, the lay offs and closing of stores, “now.”
Of course, Macy’s is not the only traditional major retailer wrestling with formidable new competition from online marketers. Sears, Kohl’s and American Eagle, among many others, have also reportedly been addressing that existential issue with potential lay offs and store closings.