(Reuters) – Macy’s Inc (M.N) said on Thursday it could rack up operating losses of up to $1.11 billion in the first quarter, as the retailer was forced to shut stores due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

The health crisis has forced brick-and-mortar retailers to tap credit lines, lay off employees and suspend dividends and buybacks in a desperate bid to stay afloat amid store closures.

Just this month several retailers, including J Crew and J.C.Penney filed for bankruptcy, failing to cope with market uncertainties and mounting debt.

Despite online sales bringing some respite to retailers, Macy’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gennette said that could not offset the losses due to store closures for the company.

The department store chain said it expects to post an operating loss of between $905 million and $1.11 billion. It also forecast first-quarter sales in the range of $3 billion to $3.03 billion, down from $5.50 billion a year earlier.

The loss excludes potential estimated pre-tax non-cash goodwill and asset impairment charges for the quarter.

Macy’s had earlier this month said it would report its first-quarter earnings on July 1 as significant business disruptions due to the pandemic had led to delays in preparing its financial statement.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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