Macy’s, Inc., J C Penney Company Inc Slip Ahead Of Earnings

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Macy’s is set to release its next earnings report on Wednesday before opening bell, while J.C. Penney is expected to report on Friday morning. Both department store chains (and the rest of the industry as well) are expected to post weak results, and as such, any upbeat outlook or even reiterated guidance could be seen as huge positives.

Goldman Sachs analysts expect sales and earnings across the department store industry to be lower than consensus estimates.

Macy’s same store sales expected to tumble

They’re projecting a decline of 4% in same store sales for Macy’s, a reduction from their previous estimate of a 3% decline. They lowered their projection because they don’t believe trends have improved as much as they had been expecting them to as of the end of the fourth quarter. Same store sales declined 4.8% in the fourth quarter as Macy’s struggles against continuing weak tourism trends and weakness at the high end of the retail industry.

The Goldman team expects GAAP earnings of 33 cents per share, including 100 basis points of gross margin pressure, although that’s better than the 288 basis points the department store chain saw in the fourth quarter. Macy’s likely spent much of the first quarter clearing out extra inventory from the first quarter, although the analysts say lapping the U.S. port strike should partially offset this.

Along with tomorrow’s earnings report, they expect to hear an update on the company’s real estate plans as new Real Estate Executive Vice President Douglas Sesler settles in. They expect Macy’s management to reiterate their full-year earnings outlook for $3.80 to $3.90 per share, including gains from any real estate strategies they follow. They also expect Macy’s to reiterate its outlook of a 1% decline in same store sales.

Other topics expected to be covered on the earnings call are an update on the new credit platform the company converted to in the fourth quarter; details on how the pilots of adding Backstage into the full-line stores are going; and an update on whether the new Top Doors stores are outperforming other Macy’s stores.

Goldman Sachs has a Neutral rating on Macy’s. The retailer’s stock declined 1.4% to $37.21 per share during regular trading hours on Tuesday.

Are J.C. Penney’s share gains moderating?

Goldman analysts lowered their same store sales estimate for J.C. Penney as well, pushing it down from their previous estimate of 4.6% to 2.8% growth, also due to softer than expected trends and cooler weather in April. They’re projecting $140 million in adjusted EBITDA, which would be ahead of consensus at $135 million as they believe continuing improvements in cost controls will help it beat on this metric.

Their estimate for same store sales growth is behind the consensus of 3.8% They expect the retail chain to beat on expenses, although they warn that softening sales might signal that its share gains are starting to taper off.

The Goldman team has a Sell rating on J.C Penney. The retailer’s stock declined 3.56% to $8.13 per share during regular trading hours on Tuesday.

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