Macy’s, J.C. Penney set to resume trial over Martha Stewart

NEW YORK, Mon Apr 8, 2013 — Macy’s Inc. and rival J.C. Penney Co. Inc. are due back in court Monday in their battle over Martha Stewart home goods after a month-long mediation effort appeared to have failed.

The trial is set to resume in New York state court over whether Macy’s has an exclusive right to sell certain Martha Stewart products.

The legal battle has hampered a key part of turnaround plans for J.C. Penney, which opened the first of its in-store boutiques on Friday with only some of the Martha Stewart goods it had originally planned.

Justice Jeffrey Oing last month ordered Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. into mediation in the hopes of resolving the dispute while the non-jury trial was in recess because of scheduling conflicts.

But, as of Friday, no deal had been struck and witnesses were scheduled to testify on Monday and Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the case.

Among the witnesses are J.C. Penney marketing executives, according to the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and did not want to be identified.

Macy’s profit rises, company raises forecast

NEW YORK, Wed Nov 7, 2012 – Macy’s Inc. on Wednesday reported a higher third-quarter profit, helped by sales gains, and raised its full-year profit outlook.

Macy’s reported net income of $145 million, or 36 cents a share, for the quarter ended October 27, up 4.3 percent from $139 million, or 32 cents a share, a year earlier.

Macy’s, which also owns the upscale Bloomingdale’s chain, raised its full-year profit per share outlook by 5 cents and now expects to earn between $3.35 and $3.40.

For the holiday quarter, when Macy’s expects same-store sales to rise 4.2 percent, Macy’s expects to earn $1.94 a share to $1.99 a share.

Third-quarter sales rose 3.8 percent to $6.08 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key industry metric known as same-store sales, rose 3.7 percent.

Macy’s posts higher profit, raises earnings forecast

NEW YORK, Wed Aug 8, 2012 – Macy’s Inc. reported a higher-than-expected second-quarter profit on Wednesday, helped by cost controls and strong sales in July, and the department store chain raised its full-year profit forecast.

Macy’s shares were up 3.2 percent to $38.20 in premarket trading.

As previously reported, second-quarter sales rose 3 percent to $6.12 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key industry metric known as same-store sales, also rose 3 percent.

Same-store sales were below the retailer’s forecast for a 3.5 percent jump. Chief Executive Terry Lundgren blamed “a soft economy,” less spending by foreign tourists, and disruptions caused by the ongoing $400 million makeover of Macy’s iconic Manhattan flagship store.

But the chain’s sales improved in July, beating expectations, and Lundgren said he was confident Macy’s could win market share heading toward the holiday season.

His confidence comes as rival J.C. Penney Co. Inc. continues to work on a massive overhaul, which has confused shoppers and led sales at that chain to plunge.

Macy’s reported net income of $279 million, or 67 cents a share, for the quarter that ended July 28, up 15.8 percent from $241 million, or 55 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts’ average forecast was 64 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Citi cuts retailers on lower high-end consumer spend

NEW YORK, Wed Jun 27, 2012 – Citi Investment Research & Analysis downgraded retailers Macy’s Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Saks Inc. to “neutral” from “buy,” citing contraction in spending by high-end consumers.

April-May comparable sales at high-end department stores fell 3 to 4 percentage points from a year earlier, Citi said.

Confidence among high-end consumers slowed to 80.7 in May from 86.0 in April, the brokerage wrote in a note.

High-income consumers, who account for about half of spending in the United States, will likely be hurt by a volatile stock market, it added.

“We are incrementally more concerned about the health of the consumer, given the softening U.S. economic outlook and declining consumer confidence,” Citi analysts said.

The brokerage said it expects slowing same-store sales to pressure Macy’s repurchase program, and cut its price target on the retailer’s stock to $37 from $49.

Aggressive investment will limit upside for Nordstrom, Citi said, lowering its price target on the stock to $52 from $63.

It also cut its price target on Saks to $11 from $14 and said it expects weakness in the women’s designer apparel to likely weigh on its same-store sales growth.

Macy shares were down nearly 2 percent in premarket trading. They closed at $34.20 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Shares of Saks fell about 3 percent in premarket trading. They had closed at $10.03 on Tuesday on the same exchange.

Nordstorm’s stock had closed at $48.62 on Tuesday.

Macy’s May same-store sales beat Wall Street forecast

NEW YORK, Wed May 30, 2012 – Macy’s Inc. reported better than expected May same-store sales on Wednesday, helped by its growing e-commerce business.

For the four weeks ended May 26, Macy’s same-store sales, which include online sales and sales at its department stores open at least a year, rose 4.2 percent, slightly above the 4 percent increase Wall Street analysts were projecting.

Online sales rose 42.3 percent. Total sales for the period were up 4.1 percent to $2.02 billion. Macy’s also owns the upscale Bloomingdale’s chain.

Macy’s maintains outlook for full year, disappointing Wall Street

NEW YORK, Wed May 9, 2012 – Macy’s Inc. kept its full-year profit forecast despite reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, disappointing Wall Street and putting pressure on the retailer’s shares.

Macy’s, which also owns the upscale Bloomingdale’s chain, has handily outperformed its mid-tier competitors in the last year, winning shoppers away from chains such as J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Kohl’s Corp.

CFO Karen Hoguet told analysts on a conference call that Macy’s has seen an uptick in sales in areas where a store competes directly with Penney, which in February implemented a new pricing strategy that largely gets rid of sales events. Analysts have said such changes would hurt Penney at least initially.

Macy’s often raises its full-year profit forecast after reporting such strong numbers.

When Barclays Capital analyst Robert Drbul asked Hoguet why the company had not done so this time, she said the “guidance for the year was more aggressive than usual.”

Macy’s gross profit margin edged down in the first quarter, largely because of shipping costs linked to its rising Internet sales. Sales growth in April, which had been expected to be weaker than in March because of an early Easter, came in below what Wall Street was expecting.

Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand said that Macy’s long winning streak may have led analysts to get ahead of themselves.

Macy’s shares last week rose to $42.17, their highest level since July 2007, making them vulnerable to a sell-off. On Wednesday morning, the shares fell as much as 6.3 percent to $37.02 on the New York Stock Exchange before paring some of those losses to be down 3.4 percent to $38.18 in early afternoon trading.

Holiday sales seen strong and better than expected, but still discounted

NEW YORK ― Discounts and mild weather are bringing out shoppers at a better-than-expected pace this holiday season, with department stores like Macy’s Inc. doing well and women’s apparel retailers feeling pressure.

“Some of the women’s retailers that were doing well earlier in the year are getting hurt this holiday by the resurgence of the department store,” said Customer Growth Partners President Craig Johnson. The retail consulting firm had been one of the most bullish forecasters of 2011 holiday sales.

Customer Growth Partners estimated that U.S. retail sales on Saturday were $26 billion. That would be just shy of the $27 billion spent on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season.

The Saturday before Christmas, typically called “Super Saturday,” is usually one of the busiest shopping days of the season. This year, retailers designated December 17 as “Super Saturday” since the Saturday before Christmas is Christmas Eve, a day when many shoppers are already traveling or gathering with family.

Despite continuing high unemployment that analysts were expecting to cut into holiday spending this season, Johnson said people with jobs have reduced their debt and are now back to spending. They are using cash, though, rather than taking on more debt.

Johnson estimates that per capita spending will now exceed the record set in 2007, before the most recent recession.

Other forecasters are also looking for sales to be better than expected in November and December.

ShopperTrak, which monitors traffic at shopping malls, now expects sales in those two months to show a 3.7 percent rise, up from its September forecast of 3.0 percent.

Last week, the National Retail Federation raised its forecast, calling for holiday sales to rise 3.8 percent. In October, it had said it expected a gain of 2.8 percent.

Macy’s posts higher third-quarter net, raises full-year outlook

NEW YORK ― Macy’s Inc. reported a higher third-quarter profit, helped by sales gains on its website and at its upscale Bloomingdale’s chain, and the retailer raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year.

Macy’s raised its profit per share forecast for the current year 10 cents to a range of $2.70 to $2.75, and expects $1.52 to $1.57 of that to come in the holiday quarter.

Macy’s, which also owns the upscale Bloomingdale’s chain, reported net income of $139 million, or 32 cents a share, for the quarter that ended Oct. 29, compared with $10 million, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier.

The department store operator reaffirmed its sales forecast and still expects same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, to rise between 4 percent and 4.5 percent in the current holiday season quarter.

Macy’s, Target plan earlier Black Friday openings — midnight

NEW YORK ― Macy’s Inc. is planning its earliest start ever to the holiday shopping season by opening many of its U.S. stores at midnight on Thanksgiving night.

Target Corp. announced a similar move last week, setting the stage for what is likely to be a competitive holiday season for U.S. store chains, with analysts and economists expecting only modest sales gains this year.

The National Retail Federation earlier this month forecast that U.S. retail sales would rise 2.8 percent in November and December, excluding cars, gas, and restaurants.

The fight for sales is likely to be more intense this year for chains that cater to middle-income shoppers who are ready to spend more, but will still be careful with their money, raising the stakes for a good start to the season for discount retailers and department stores.

“We expect significant competition in the moderate market and in electronics,” Richard Hastings, a Global Hunter Securities analyst said, noting that it costs little to keep stores open a few more hours.

While store hours can vary by chain and by location, most chains opened their doors at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving last year.

But opening times have gotten earlier and earlier in recent years, inevitably leading to midnight openings.

Last year, the NRF found that the number of people who began their “Black Friday” shopping at midnight had tripled to 9.5 percent of shoppers.

Shoppers are often lined up outside stores, particularly electronics retailers such as Best Buy, at midnight even if the stores opened just a few hours later. Last year, Best Buy stores opened their doors at 5 a.m.

Other chains that last year opened doors at midnight include video-games chain GameStop and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.