Macy’s shares jump after earnings top estimates, helped by a last-minute holiday sales boost

Macy’s reported fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday that outpaced expectations, helped by a boost from last-minute shoppers who lifted sales in the days leading up to Christmas

Shares climbed as much as 6% in premarket trading, but were recently about 3% higher.

“Taken as a whole, 2019 did not play out as we intended for Macy’s, Inc. However, we executed well during the Holiday 2019 season,” Macy’s CEO and chairman Jeff Gennette said, in a press release. 

Here’s what Macy’s reported for its fiscal fourth quarter compared with what analysts were expecting, based on Refinitiv data:

  • Earnings per share, adjusted: $2.12 per share vs. $1.96 per share expected
  • Revenue: $8.34 billion vs. $8.32 billion expected
  • Same-store sales: down 0.5%, on an owned plus licensed basis, vs. a drop of 0.9% expected

Macy’s reported net income for the fourth quarter of $340 million, or $1.09 a share, compared with $740 million, or $2.37 a share, a year.

Excluding items, Macy’s earned $2.12 a share, topping analyst estimates of $1.96 per share, reported by Refinitiv.

Sales fell to $8.34 billion from $8.46 billion a year ago, but were higher than the $8.32 billion analysts expected.

Same-store sales for the quarter declined 0.5%, which is a drop from 0.7% growth reported over the same quarter a year ago.

The company reported holiday sales last month that didn’t decline as much, year-over-year, as investors expected. The company said same-store sales fell 0.6% at its owned and licensed stores during November and December.

“We were pleased with the significant trend improvement in the fourth quarter, including a meaningful sales uptick in the 10 shopping days before Christmas,” Gennette said. 

Macy’s has been trying to win back customers, as shoppers head to the mall less frequently and shop more online. The department store chain has been refreshing its interiors and focusing on improving its product assortment. It also has been experimenting with new store formats such as Backstage, which aims to compete with off-price retailers like T.J. Maxx.

Last quarter, Macy’s reported its first same-store sales decline in two years, casting blame on warmer weather and weak traffic at some shopping malls. Those results led the department store chain to slash its full-year outlook and sent the stock down about 3%.

The company announced last month it would close 28 of its namesake department stores and one Bloomingdale’s location as part of its annual review process. Macy’s has already been through several rounds of store closures in recent years.

In February, it announced plans to close 125 stores over the next three years. It also is planning to cut staff and close its headquarters in Cincinnati.

Read the full press release here.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

CNBC’s Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.

Correction: Macy’s lowered their fiscal 2019 forecast in November. In January, the company reported holiday sales that declined less than anticipated. A previous version of this story misstated the timing of the lower forecast. 

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