Macy’s Plans to Close 100 Stores in Huge Comeback Quarter

Print Email

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) released its fiscal second-quarter earnings report before the markets opened on Thursday. Looking at this stock’s performance over the past 52 weeks is not very encouraging, with shares down nearly 50% in this time. However, this earnings report could be signaling an inflection point, or as management put it, “a comeback.” Not to mention, the company is also putting forth new sales initiatives that could pave the way for future growth.

The company posted $0.54 in earnings per share (EPS) on $5.87 billion in revenue. Consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for $0.45 in EPS on $5.74 billion in revenue. The same period from last year had $0.64 in EPS on $6.1 billion in revenue.

In terms of guidance, Macy’s expects full-year 2016 comparable sales to decrease in the range of 3% to 4%. The company also expects EPS to be in the range of $3.15 to $3.40. The consensus estimates are $3.26 in EPS on $25.81 billion in revenue for the 2016 full year.

As for the new sales initiatives, the company will heighten the Macy’s brand with exclusive products and an improved shopping experience. Plans also include re-creating Macy’s physical store presence as customer shopping preferences and patterns evolve, reallocating investments to highest-growth-potential store and digital businesses, and capitalizing on opportunities within the company’s real estate assets.

In the short term, top-line sales will be somewhat smaller from these initiatives, but the changes being made will position Macy’s to grow comparable sales more quickly and generate a level of profitability that stands out among retailers.

Probably the most significant announcement out of these initiatives is that Macy’s plans to close roughly 100 full-line stores (out of its current portfolio of 728 Macy’s stores). The locations being closed will be announced at a later date.

The company did not repurchase any shares of its common stock during this quarter. Considering the first-quarter results, Macy’s decided to suspend its repurchase program but may now reinstate stock buybacks in the second half of 2016, assuming current sales trends continue. At the end of the second quarter, there was $1.9 billion remaining in the repurchase plan.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $560 million in the first half of 2016, compared with $398 million in the first six months of last year. On the books, Macy’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.00 billion in revenue at the end of the quarter, versus $1.11 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Terry Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s, commented:

A number of factors worked in our favor in the second quarter, including a normalized weather pattern, which contributed to a sales lift in our apparel business in particular. We also saw a smaller decrease in tourist spending during prime summer travel months, supported by strengthened promotional events designed to increase customer traffic and conversion. Macy’s first-ever ‘Black Friday in July’ event was a terrific success which drove record store and online sales for a mid-year period.

Shares of Macy’s closed Wednesday up 0.7% at $34.00, with a consensus analyst price target of $38.61 and a 52-week trading range of $29.94 to $65.11. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was up nearly 13% at $38.45 in early trading indications Thursday.