Macy's Stock (M) Rises On Earnings, But Likely Topping

NEW YORK NY- APRIL 11 A shopper carries a Macy's bag in the Herald Square neighborhood of Manhattan

NEW YORK NY- APRIL 11 A shopper carries a Macy's bag in the Herald Square neighborhood of Manhattan

With shoppers in a mood to spend, particularly on clothing, Macy's surpassed profit and revenue expectations for the first quarter of the year and raised its outlook.

With proceeds from asset sales excluded, company earnings per diluted share were 42 cents versus 12 cents in the first quarter of 2017.

Macy's shares closed higher for a second consecutive trading session on Wednesday. The rosy performance bodes well for J.C. Penney and Nordstrom, both set to report their quarterly results on Thursday. It wants to bring Macy's Backstage to the West Coast and it recently bought Story, a New York City concept store. It's also testing more curated merchandise displays and localized marketing.

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"Our best customer is responding well to the improvements we've made to her experience in our stores, on.com and through the Macy's app". That robust growth followed upbeat holiday sales results by Macy's, providing more convincing evidence that the beleaguered chain might finally be getting on steadier footing.

The company said all three of its divisions - Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury - exceeded expectations during the first quarter of fiscal 2018. "While we have more work to do, the continuing improvement in our stores is encouraging and we once again achieved double-digit growth in the digital business".

Macy's this week had a firm answer to some of the gloom on Wall Street around the company and the department store sector as a whole. The spending gains were spread across most retail categories, especially big increases at furniture and clothing stores. Further, it has been operating in a friendly economy environment, marked by strong consumer sentiment and spending, he said. Tax cuts have also left most US households with more money to spend, though higher gasoline prices have been cutting into that. "Our main concern is that these need to be mixed together into a more coherent dish".

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Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, described Macy's results as "solid progress" but cautioned that much of the momentum is fueled by the favorable economic backdrop. These include sub-optimal ranges, a store experience that leaves a lot to be desired, and many locations where traffic is likely to decline over the medium term. The company reported $2.82 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts' consensus estimates of $2.71 by $0.11.

The unexpected spike in global spending - up 10 percent from past year - marks only the second time since 2014 that spending by worldwide shoppers has increased, the company said. The revenue of the company rose to $5.5 billion while the expected revenue was $5.4 billion. Same-store sales rose 3.9% on an owned basis and 4.2% on an owned and licensed basis. On an owned plus licensed basis, comparable sales were up 4.2 percent for the first quarter of 2018. And it bumped up its full-year earnings and comparable-sales guidance.

Sales in the quarter ended May 5 were $5.54 billion, topping the $5.43 billion analysts estimated. BMO Capital Markets set a $38.00 price target on shares of Macy's and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, January 5th. The company said it is ending a joint venture with China's Fung Retailing that began in 2015.

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