The country’s largest mall owner, Simon Property Group, has reportedly furloughed approximately 30% of its workforce and laid off an unspecified number of personnel, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. Individual retailers are continuing to make cuts as well, with Kohl’s, Neiman Marcus and Gap announcing closures, furloughs and pay reductions.
Simon is suffering from the temporary closures of all its malls and outlets. The company’s furloughs will impact both full- and part-time employees at its headquarters and properties across the U.S., while CEO David Simon will take a 100% reduction in his salary for the duration of the pandemic. Other leaders will take reductions of up to 30% as well.
Social distancing is continuing to drag down individual retailers’ sales as well, and more companies are being forced to temporarily let go of workers: Kohl’s will furlough 85,000 of its 122,000 employees as it extends its temporary store closures indefinitely. The company will keep to its promise to provide two calendar weeks of pay to all store and distribution center associates, and will continue to provide existing health benefits to furloughed associates.
Kohl’s will try to minimize the sales hit from closed stores with the launch of in-store pickup on April 2. Shoppers who purchase orders online can pick them up for free at their local store within two hours of placing their orders during operating hours, which will be reduced to 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Neiman Marcus will extend its own store closures to at least April 30 and furlough some of its 14,000 employees, while CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck and other leaders will waive a “significant amount” of their salaries, according to USA Today. COVID-19 is expected to be particularly difficult for the luxury department store, which was allegedly mulling bankruptcy as recently as last week.
Gap also has extended its temporary closures and will furlough the majority of its associates and some corporate employees (though it will continue to offer them benefits), and has reduced the pay of its leadership team. The retailer also has set up an Employee Resource Center that includes resources to identify and apply for temporary roles at other retailers that remain open and hiring.
“We know that tens of thousands of people rely on us to support themselves and their families, and that millions more around the world rely on our business,” said Sonia Syngal, President and CEO of Gap in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to provide support during this time, and we are intensely focused on welcoming back our store teams and customers as soon as we are able.”