Lights shine near a closed Macy’s Herald Square as people remain at home to stop the spread of coronavirus on March 29, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Macy’s said Thursday it expects first-quarter sales to fall by as much as 45%, and it could report a loss of more than $1 billion, as the department store operator shuttered stores amid the Covid-19 crisis. 

Its shares were recently up less than 1% in premarket trading on the news. 

Macy’s said it expects to report an operating loss of between $905 million and $1.11 billion, compared with net income of $203 million a year ago. And it has forecast first-quarter sales to be in the range of $3 billion to $3.03 billion, down from $5.50 billion a year ago. 

“We expect business to recover gradually,” CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement, as part of Macy’s releasing the preliminary financial results. 

The department store chain is expected to report fiscal first-quarter earnings on July 1. 

Macy’s stores were temporarily shut during the coronavirus pandemic on March 18, and are just beginning to reopen across the U.S. in states, including South Carolina and Georgia. 

As of this week, Macy’s said roughly 190 of its namesake department stores and Bloomingdale’s shops have fully reopened. The company said another 80 Macy’s stores will be open for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. 

“With two weeks of results from reopened stores, customer demand is moderately higher than we anticipated,” Gennette said. 

Macy’s shares as of Wednesday’s market close are down more than 70% this year. The company has a market cap of $1.6 billion. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 

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