With stores temporarily shut due to the coronavirus pandemic — and a slim-to-zero chance of opening in the near future — America’s department stores are facing a cash crunch.
Department store chains have enough liquidity to make it about five to eight months, with their stores sitting dark, in this coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis released Friday by Cowen & Co. It says that is “better than feared” because the firm does not anticipate the temporary store closures will drag on for that long.
In making these assumptions, Cowen is measuring liquidity as cash plus revolvers, relative to key expenses such as rent, labor and promised dividend payments. Cowen said labor costs are about 10% of annual sales, while rent is about 3%, to give a sense of what some of these expenses look like.