The spread of the Omicron variant and the ongoing shortage in the labor market is forcing retailers to rethink their operations.
Macy’s, for one, is cutting its hours at its 516 store locations nationwide for the month of January. The company’s stores will now be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Up until December, many of the company’s store locations used to open at 10 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the CDC and jurisdictional guidelines as well as keep enhanced safety and wellness procedures in place,” a Macy’s spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
The company plans to maintain its store hours for Friday through Sunday the same as before.
The retailer’s move to cut store hours comes at a time when the U.S. is recording a significant increase in COVID-19 cases. On Monday, the country saw a record 1 million new cases, with a larger number of Americans returning from their holiday travels.
Other retailers and restaurant chains are also drawing up plans to better manage the impact of the increasing number of cases. Nike and Athleta, for example, have reduced their store hours for the Upper East Side locations in New York City.
The increase in infection rates is also creating a human resource issue for retailers as it is putting staff out of work, according to Craig Rowley, a senior client partner at Korn Ferry and head of the firm’s retail practice.
Still, Rowley believes that reduction in-store hours might not necessarily impact sales as long as they can operate efficiently over the weekend.
“Most retail sales [in stores] occur toward the weekend,” he said. “A lot of restaurants are no longer open seven days a week. … If somebody really needs something, they can order it online and have it delivered to your home the next day.”