Did Short Sellers Call This Macy’s Bust?

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Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) watched its short interest make an incredible gain for the period that ended on June 15. Macy’s stock has holding near a multiyear low, one not seen since 2011. Did short sellers see this drop coming ahead of time?

For the most recent short interest period, Macy’s saw its short interest jump to 29.88 million from the previous level of 22.63 million. This is an increase of roughly 32%.

This year has been rough on retailers, as evidenced by when Macy’s announced earlier this year that it was closing 68 stores and laying off 10,000 workers. Not to mention, Macy’s had a weak showing in its most recent earnings report, with the stock dropping about 25% around that time.

This may have been one of the biggest disappointments in all of retail. Closing stores is sometimes costlier and takes longer than expected, and the move to e-commerce just hasn’t been anywhere close to smooth.

Macy’s said that it had EPS of $0.24 and $5.34 billion in revenue, which compared with consensus estimates that called for $0.34 in EPS and revenue of $5.47 billion. In the same period of last year, the retailer posted EPS of $0.40 and $5.77 billion in revenue. Comparable sales on an owned basis were down 5.2% in the first quarter and down 4.6% on an owned plus licensed basis.

In terms of guidance for the 2017 full year, the company expects to see comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis to decline between 2.0% and 3.0%. At the same time, total sales are expected to be down between 3.2% and 4.3%. The consensus estimates for the 2017 full year are $3.45 in EPS and $24.8 billion in revenue.

Shares of Macy’s were trading at $22.65 early Tuesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $25.79 and a 52-week range of $21.51 to $45.41.