Furloughs Surpass 1 Million With T.J. Maxx Adding to Retail Toll

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Employee furloughs in the retail industry are now well over 1 million after the owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, one of America’s biggest clothing store chains, suspended its store workers.

TJX Companies Inc. said Tuesday that it would furlough the majority of its U.S. workforce at stores and distribution centers. It employs about 286,000 people worldwide, with most based in the U.S. Employees will be paid through April 11 and those eligible will retain benefits while furloughed.

Retailers across the country stopped issuing paychecks en masse over the past two weeks after shutting down their stores in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Several of America’s largest retail employers, including Macy’s Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Gap Inc., Ross Stores Inc. and Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands Inc., have made the move to save on labor costs and conserve cash while stores remain closed.

More than 200,000 stores have temporarily closed, according to research firm GlobalData Retail, as Americans obey stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the virus. Re-opening dates have been pushed back as the outbreak worsened.

TJX closed all of its roughly 3,300 T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and HomeSense locations in the U.S. on March 19. The retailer’s online shops have shut too, and senior management at headquarters will take pay cuts.

Executives will take “comparable actions” with some of their employees abroad as well, where it has an additional 1,400 stores in Canada, Australia and Europe.

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