Macy’s. Inc. (M) Increases Buyback Plan Despite Weak Sales

By Mani
Updated on

Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) enhanced its share buyback program after cost cuts helped it cope with a first quarter marked by weak shopper experience.

The second-largest U.S. department store company also enhanced its dividend.

Tops Q1 EPS

Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) reported Q1 EPS of $0.60, $0.01 better than the consensus analyst estimate of $0.59. Revenue for the quarter, however, fell short, as the $6.28 billion revenue for the quarter was under the consensus estimate of $6.46 billion.

The department-store’s board of directors has authorized an increase in the quarterly dividend on its common stock to 31.25 cents per share from the current 25 cents per share. The dividend enhancement marks the fourth increase in the past three years. The company has enhanced its quarterly dividend more than six-fold from 5 cents per share to 31.25 cents per share during the period.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had projected earnings of 59 cents a share and revenue of $6.46 billion. The retailer has also cut costs, closed stores and eliminated jobs recently as it attempts to save $100 million a year. Gross margin rose to 38.9% from 38.8% as input costs fell 1.9% to $3.84 billion.

Macy’s reaffirms sales and earnings guidance

Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) sales in the quarter through May 3 unexpectedly declined. However the retailer said earnings this year will meet its projections and that it will repurchase $1.5 billion more in stock than originally planned and raise its dividend. The company’s earnings per share guidance is $4.40 to $4.50 for the year through January 2015, compared to a consensus analyst estimate of $4.46.

The retailer’s CEO Terry Lundgren has been cutting jobs to trim costs as flagging mall traffic and unfavorable weather plagues retailers in general. Macy’s has eliminated about 1,800 positions this year to save about $100 million annually.

Stock markets in the United States fluctuated after the U.S. Department of Commerce reported yesterday that the growth of retail sales slowed down in April. According to the Department of Commerce, retail sales were affected by declines in receipts at appliance, electronics, and furniture stores, restaurants and bars, as well as online retailers.

Interestingly, e-commerce is proving to be accretive for at least some retailers. Recently, Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) CFO Karen Hoguest said that its e-commerce business was accretive to the company’s bottom line, while, on the other hand, Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) e-commerce has become a drag on margins.

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