Has Macy’s Turned Itself Around?

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When Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) released its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday, the retailer said that it had $2.02 in earnings per share (EPS) and $8.52 billion in revenue. That compared to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $1.96 in EPS and revenue of $8.62 billion. In the same period of last year, Macy’s posted EPS of $2.09 and $8.87 billion in revenue.

On an owned basis, fourth-quarter comparable sales declined by 2.7%. Comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis for the fourth quarter were down 2.1%.

The company also announced that its previously announced CEO transition will occur on March 23, 2017, when Jeff Gennette will assume the role of chief executive officer and Terry Lundgren will continue as executive chairman.

In terms of guidance for the fiscal 2017 year, Macy’s expects to see EPS in the range of $3.37 to $3.62 and total sales to be down between 2.0% to 3.0%, with comparable sales down 2.2% to 3.3%. The consensus estimates call for $3.20 in EPS and $24.83 billion in revenue for the fiscal year.

In fiscal 2016, the company repurchased approximately 7.9 million shares of its common stock for approximately $316 million. At the end of the quarter, the company had remaining authorization to repurchase up to roughly $1.716 billion of its common stock.

On the books, Macy’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.30 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $1.11 billion in the same period of last year.

Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s current chairman and CEO, commented:

While 2016 was not the year we expected, we made significant progress on key initiatives that are starting to bear fruit. These include continued improvement in our digital platforms, the rollout of our new approach to fine jewelry and women’s shoes, an increase in exclusive merchandise and the refinement of our clearance and off-price strategy. We also took a big step forward in rightsizing our physical footprint and restructuring our entire organization. The combination of these initiatives will help us gain market share, return to growth and drive enhanced value for our shareholders over time.

Shares of Macy’s closed Friday up 1.5% to $32.30, with a consensus analyst price target of $35.43 and a 52-week trading range of $28.55 to $45.50. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was up 3% at $33.33 in early trading indications Tuesday.