By Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch
Macy's says it will open all of its stores in the next six weeks
When Best Buy Co. Inc. stores reopen for business, every customer who walks through the doors will be getting something like VIP treatment.
Best Buy (BBY) announced on its blog that it will make in-store consultations available by appointment at 200 locations starting in May.
"Since each customer's appointment will have a dedicated sales associate, there will be a limited number of customers in the store at any one time to ensure appropriate social distancing takes place," the post said.
Customers will be greeted at the door for their appointment, introduced to the sales associate they'll be working with, and items and surfaces will be cleaned during the sales process.
During these consultations, staff must wear gloves and masks, social distancing guidelines must be adhered to, an employee app will be available for daily self-health checks, and areas of the store will be sanitized before and after each appointment.
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Checkout stations have been equipped with sneeze guards and credit card terminals will be wiped before and after each transaction.
Best Buy is also resuming in-home repair and installation service where it's allowed, Chief Executive Corie Barry said in a letter to customers, with employees following many of these safety measures.
Chico's FAS Inc. (CHS) has also announced reopening plans that include a shop-by-appointment process for its stores. Chico's portfolio includes the namesake stores, White House Black Market and Soma.
"We believe we will have some significant advantages in the next several months as the majority of our stores are under 3,500 square feet and are located in easily accessible shopping plazas," said Chief Executive Bonnie Brooks in a statement.
Brooks says Chico's has experienced double-digit percentage digital growth () over recent weeks, owing in part to a new proprietary styling software, Style Connect, that "allows for intimate but distanced connection" with customers.
Bank of America analysts offer up four scenarios for how things proceed for stores and restaurants, with one forecast for reopenings that include "severe" social distancing measures.
"We believe sales trends will rebound strongest for consumer-facing companies with the least impact from a new world of social distancing guidelines and consumer demands or 'contactless' shopping," the report said.
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"Also positioned well in this scenario are staples stocks and consumer companies that are nearest to their customers and offer an easier one-stop in-and-out, uncrowded experience."
Macy's Inc. (M) , Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) , which said it plans to start reopening stores in the coming weeks ( ) , Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) and Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) will be "relative losers," according to the report.
Costco released new guidelines on Thursday that include tighter restrictions on the number of people allowed into a warehouse per membership, and a requirement starting May 4 that all shoppers, with few exceptions, wear a face mask. Starting on that date, warehouses will also return to regular shopping hours.
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Macy's has also announced that it will be opening 68 stores on Monday in states where the lockdown rules have been loosened, according to an interview between Chief Executive Jeff Gennette and The Wall Street Journal (). The stores will be in Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee and operate with reduced hours. Some are in malls.
Another 50 stores will open by May 11, and all of the retailer's 775 stores will be back in operation in six weeks. Macy's also owns Bloomingdale's and the Bluemercury chain of beauty retailers.
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Shoppers heading to Macy's can expect a contactless beauty counter, with trials done on a paper diagram, fewer fitting rooms and hand sanitizer at the jewelry counter. Items that have been tried or returned will be held for 24 hours before being placed back on the floor. Workers will also be required to wear masks.
Cowen analysts have estimated that the struggling department store retailer has just four months (cash at its disposal. And there were reports that the company was seeking to raise $5 billion ( ) in debt to avoid bankruptcy.
Best Buy stock is up 4% over the last year. Chico's shares have plunged 56.3%. Costco stock has rallied 25.4% for the period. And Macy's shares have sunk 75%.
The S&P 500 index is down 0.4% for the last 12 months.
-Tonya Garcia; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 02, 2020 09:09 ET (13:09 GMT)
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