Tens of thousands of retail workers who had to quit going to work when their stores were temporarily closed will now lose their paychecks. Macy's, Kohl's and Gap all said Monday that they're furloughing the vast majority of employees, the AP reports, as they scale back drastically because of the pandemic. Macy's would not say how many workers are affected, but said it will be most of its 125,000 employees. The furloughs will start this week, per CNBC, as the company keeps only an "absolute minimum workforce." More than 600 of its stores were shut temporarily this month. Kohl's said 85,000 of its 120,000 employees at stores and distribution centers will be furloughed. The retailer plans to ship to customers and provide curbside pickup at most of its stores. The chief executives of both companies are not being paid for now. Gap said it's furloughing nearly 80,000 out of its 129,000 employees, including those at Banana Republic and Old Navy.
"This could push us further into a damaging recession that will last longer than the duration of the crisis," said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. Nearly half of the retail square footage in the nation is now closed for business, he said. A report by Cowen found that Macy's and Kohl's have enough cash on hand to survive about five months with their stores closed. J.C. Penney and Nordstrom should be able to make it a bit longer, the report said. (Read more coronavirus stories.)