Macy’s Shares Up 4% in 2016

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It is not much of a plus, but for a bleeding company, a 4% increase in share price so far in 2016 is not bad. At $36.50, Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) shares have recovered some of the plunge that took them under $30 last July.

Macy’s already has started to unload store locations to meet its goal to shutter 100 stores. According to MarketWatch:

Macy’s Inc. sold five stores to General Growth Properties Inc. for $46 million as part of its effort to focus on locations with highest-growth potential, the department store operator said Monday. The stores are located in Carolina Place in Pineville, N.C., Oakwood Mall in Eau Claire, Wis., Quail Springs Mall in Oklahoma City, Okla., Tysons Galleria in McLean, Va., and Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green, Ky. Roughly 300 employees are affected by the change in ownership. Macy’s expects to see a gain of $32 million from the sales in the third quarter.

That means only 95 stores to go.

Wall Street sentiment has started to turn positive on Macy’s as it restructures. Barron’s reports:

Deutsche Bank’s Paul Trussell and team explain why they upgraded Macy’s (M) to Buy from Hold thanks to a combination of its cheap valuation and pending margin recovery. They explain:

We are upgrading Macy’s to Buy as we rebalance our model to recognize near-term comp pressure but also significant 4Q and 2017 GPM opportunity buoying our EPS estimates above the Street. We think investors are underestimating the recovery potential (consensus assumes ’17 GPM remains well below ’08 levels vs. our modest forecast at par), while we remain conservative on apparel SSS and real estate which could provide further upside. Valuation looks cheap as we expect Macy’s to regain earnings momentum ahead of peers …

Among the things that drive hope in a recovery is a new section called the Apple Shop, which has added to consumer electronic overall.

Macy’s has a chance to prove it can have a better holiday season that other second-tier retailers, such as J.C. Penney and Sears. If it can, Macy’s will have proved that closing 100 stores and revamping those that are left has worked.