Citing the coronavirus pandemic's "heavy toll" on its business, Macy's said it's furloughing the majority of its nearly 130,000 employees. Workers will continue to receive health benefits through May.

"Across Macy's, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury [beauty] brands, we will be moving to the absolute minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations," the retailer said Monday.

All of Macy's stores, closed since March 18, will stay shut "until we have clear line of sight on when it is safe to reopen." Its online business remains open, but the company said it has lost the majority of its sales due to the store closures.

The company noted that it has taken several steps to "maintain financial flexibility," including suspending its dividend, using its credit line and freezing hiring and spending. Macy's said it's "evaluating all other financing options."

Along with other major retailers, Macy's had been struggling even before the coronavirus shut down much of the U.S. economy. In February, Macy's announced plans to close about 125 stores over the next three years — about a fifth of the company's retail locations — and that it was cutting 2,000 jobs.

Unemployment is soaring around the country. Nearly 3.3 million people filed for jobless benefits in the week that ended March 21 — a number that shattered records going back to 1967.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit