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Shrinking icon: US giant Macy’s closing 125 stores and laying off 2,000 employees

Retailer Macy’s is closing 125 stores – about a fifth of its total – and laying off about 2,000 workers as it struggles to shore up sales after a disappointing holiday season.

The 161-year-old department store chain is also shutting down its second headquarters in Cincinnati and will move operations to New York, the company announced in a statement Tuesday. The company also plans to close offices in San Francisco and Ohio, as well as a customer service centre in Tempe, Arizona, resulting in a 10 per cent reduction of corporate and support staffs.

Macy's had another disappointing holiday season.

Macy’s had another disappointing holiday season. Credit:AP

“The changes we are making are deep and impact every area of the business, but they are necessary,” Jeff Gennette, chief executive of Macy’s, said in a statement. “We are taking the organisation through significant structural change to lower costs, bring teams closer together and reduce duplicative work.”

Macy’s, which had $US25 billion ($37.1 billion) in sales in 2018, is one of the country’s largest and most prominent retailers, with anchor stores at hundreds of US shopping malls. But changing consumer habits and mounting competition from Walmart, Amazon and Target have been reversing its fortunes. The retail giant has closed dozens of underperforming stores, many of them in shopping malls, over the past four years as it invests in its most lucrative properties. Even so, Macy’s has struggled to win over customers who are increasingly buying online.

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