By Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch
Macy’s Inc. has about 4.5 months of available cash and Kohl’s has five months, putting them at risk from extended closures, according to calculations from Cowen analysts.
With no store revenue, Cowen’s analysis assumes Macy’s /zigman2/quotes/201854387/composite M +6.82% could ring up $449 million in monthly online sales while Kohl’s would generate $346 million monthly.
Cowen analysis shows that labor is the largest monthly fixed cost across the industry, on average about 10.3% of fiscal 2019 annual sales.
“An important point is that liquidity could be ‘better than feared’ at department stores despite store closures, given that we believe store closures will be less than five months – this could imply buying opportunities as visibility eventually improves with several caveats,” Cowen analysts led by Oliver Chen wrote.
“What happens post crisis with consumer spending trends, vendor and inventory relationships, and holiday performance will drive long-term viability.”
Other experts have pointed out the vulnerabilities for department stores and clothing retailers. Moody’s forecasts 2020 operating income declines of 40% for retailers in these categories, “the worst of any retail sector by far.”
Moreover, there are monthly rent payments that don’t stop because stores are closed. And many retailers have continued to pay staff despite the closures.
“These mounting pressures will all weigh heavily on the industry,” Moody’s wrote.
Cowen thinks many department stores are cutting orders and shipments until June or July, with vendors “likely canceling as many orders as possible, which will impair important back to school/ fall deliveries.”
This is a critical time of year for retailers, behind the holiday shopping season.
They’re analyzing leases to determine their obligations as well.
Bank of America analysts also think retailers are canceling orders for the second half of the year, but it’s too late to cancel for the second quarter. Retailers can try to renegotiate some of their orders, but with pressure across the supply chain, Bank of America thinks that could become difficult.
Cowen’s analysis concludes that Nordstrom Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203902116/composite JWN +6.05% and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204684963/composite JCP +54.76% have about eight months of cash available.
Nordstrom said this week that it would extend store closures at least a week to April 5 with store employees receiving pay. A portion of employees will be furloughed for six weeks starting April 5.
Macy’s stock has plummeted 77% over the past year. Kohl’s stock is down nearly 75% for the period. The Amplify Online Retail ETF /zigman2/quotes/206522380/composite IBUY +1.49% is down 15.5%. And the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +2.62% is down 8.2% or the period.