Cautious Consumers Cancel Macy’s Results (M, JWN, SKS, JCP, KSS, DDS)

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) reported first quarter results this morning that beat estimates on both EPS and revenues. The soft spot was the company’s guidance, and that is taking the stock down sharply in pre-market trading.

The company leads off earnings seasons for a number of big department stores, all of which will be announcing results in the next couple of weeks. Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) reports earnings tomorrow and is expected to post EPS of $0.75 on revenue of $2.52 billion. Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) also reports tomorrow, and the consensus estimate for EPS is $0.61 and for revenue the estimate is $4.25 billion. Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) reports next Wednesday and the consensus estimates call for EPS of $0.18 on revenues of $764.4 million. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) also reports next Wednesday and is expected to post an EPS loss of -$0.10 on revenues of $3.48 billion. Dillard’s Inc. (NYSE: DDS) has not yet scheduled its announcement, but the estimates call for EPS of $1.67 on revenue of $1.53 billion.

Macy’s grew EPS by 43%, from $0.30 a year ago to $0.43 in the first quarter of 2012. Sales rose 4.4% year-over-year, from $5.89 billion to $6.15 billion. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $0.40 on revenue of $6.13 billion.

Where Macy’s failed to impress was its outlook for full-year EPS. The company reiterated guidance of $3.25-$3.30. The consensus estimate had been $3.41. Same-store sales in April were also a weight, rising just 1.2%, well below the consensus estimate for 1.9% growth.

Macy’s cost of sales rose slightly and margins fell slightly, from 39.1% to 38.8%. Strong sales in March due to an early Easter and warm weather did not flow into April as consumers grew more cautious about purchases.

The company’s shares are down -4.3% at $37.70 in pre-market trading this morning, within a 52-week range of $22.66-$42.17.

Paul Ausick