Macy's Posts Disappointing Third Quarter

11/17/2015
Macy's, Inc. reported earnings per share of 36 cents in the third quarter of 2015, ended Oct. 31, 2015. Excluding asset impairment charges of $111 million, or 20 cents per share, primarily related to the previously-announced plans to close 35 to 40 stores in early 2016, third quarter earnings per share were 56 cents per share. This compares with 61 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2014.

For the first three quarters of 2015, Macy's, Inc.'s diluted earnings per share were $1.56. Excluding asset impairment charges of $111 million, or 20 cents per share, primarily related to planned 2016 store closings, year-to-date earnings per diluted share were $1.76. This compares with earnings of $2.01 per diluted share in the first three quarters of 2014.

"We are disappointed that the pace of sales did not improve in the third quarter, as we had expected. Spending by domestic customers remained tepid, especially in key apparel and accessory categories. Simultaneously, the slowdown in buying by international visitors continued to significantly impact Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores in tourist centers, which are some of our company's largest-volume and most profitable locations," said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy's, Inc.

"We have begun testing and learning from new sales growth initiatives that we believe will begin yielding incremental results in the quarters and years ahead. This included the opening of the first five Macy's Backstage off-price stores in the New York City metro area (with a sixth opening planned in the fourth quarter)," Lundgren said.

"Heading into the fourth quarter, we are shifting our organization into overdrive to focus on sales-driving activities in the holiday shopping season, when Macy's and Bloomingdale's shine as destinations for gift-giving and self-purchase," he added. "We also will be opening stores in several of our nameplates in the fourth quarter, including a new Bloomingdale's at Ala Moana in Honolulu."

"Moving forward, we are accelerating steps needed to adapt in response to changing customer shopping preferences so we can restore our annual comparable sales growth on an owned plus licensed basis in the years ahead to the level of 2 percent to 3 percent while re-attaining an EBITDA rate as percent of sales of 14 percent. This includes building on our strength as a leading omnichannel innovator with consistent growth in online sales," Lundgren said. "No other retailer has our track record of mastering change and creating shareholder value with a model of customer centricity. We have a deep and resourceful management team that is skilled in creating and executing successful strategies. Since the beginning of fiscal 2009, we have returned nearly $9 billion to shareholders. Our Total Shareholder Return has been 540 percent during that period, compared with a 121 percent increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average."

Real estate considerations
Macy's, Inc. is pursuing the following strategic real estate initiatives:
  • Based on a successful collaboration on Macy's previously announced Brooklyn store redevelopment project, the company has engaged Tishman Speyer in an expanded relationship to advise and support the company's senior management team in identifying and advancing potential store redevelopment projects nationwide. The company may request Tishman Speyer to participate in bidding for certain of these projects. In all cases, a third party will be used to manage the bidding and negotiations process.
  • The company has begun a process to explore joint ventures or other deal structures with third parties to redevelop Macy's flagship real estate assets in Manhattan (Herald Square), San Francisco (Union Square), Chicago (State Street) and Minneapolis (downtown Nicollet Mall) in a manner that maintains a robust Macy's retail store presence while also bringing alternative use into those buildings; this exploration could expand to include other assets, including mall-based properties, to the extent opportunities are available.
  • The company will continue to pursue selected real estate dispositions and monetize assets in instances where the business is simultaneously enhanced (such as the recently announced real estate sales of underutilized portions of properties in Brooklyn and downtown Seattle) or where the value of real estate significantly outweighs the value of the retail business (such as the recent sale of Macy's stores in Cupertino and downtown Pittsburgh).
After extensive review with the assistance of its experienced financial, tax, legal and real estate advisors, the company has decided not to pursue the formation of a REIT at this time. The board of directors has concluded that a REIT does not offer sufficient upside potential for value creation. To the extent that circumstances change, Macy's may revisit this alternative in the future.

Ongoing business strategies/actions
Macy's, Inc. is continuing to execute a number of key strategies and actions going forward to adapt its business model as an omnichannel retailer committed to outstanding stores as a competitive differentiator. These adjustments are rooted in Macy's MOM strategies (My Macy's localization, Omnichannel and Magic Selling customer engagement) and Bloomingdale's focus on omnichannel opportunities, contemporary style and personalized service -- which have proven to be a powerful driver of success. In part, the company is:

Accelerating investments in Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury's digital and mobile capabilities to mirror the shift to increased online shopping, where the company continues to see double-digit, year-over-year sales increases. Macy's, Inc. is already a leader in this area, and ranked as the seventh largest Internet retailer in the United States.

Concentrating its resources in top stores in the best locations so each store is a more compelling magnet for customer activity and uses its selling space more productively. Best stores will see intensified merchandise assortments in key destination departments such as jewelry and watches, strategically selected licensed departments, strengthened visual presentation, enhanced staffing and more local marketing. Meanwhile, in early 2016, the company will be closing 35 to 40 of its current portfolio of about 800 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, as previously announced, and expects it will continue to reduce the number of stores over time.

Reducing expense and tightening capital spending to operate more efficiently and fund the highest-potential growth initiatives. Macy's, Inc.'s target is to reduce annual SG&A by $500 million (net of growth initiatives) from previously planned levels by 2018, with incremental progress in 2016 and 2017 toward that goal. These structural expense reductions will result in charges to be taken in each of the three years. Specific plans to achieve these savings are being formulated. Macy's, Inc. will reduce capital spending to less than $1 billion in 2016 from the $1.2 billion expected in 2015.

The company also is quickly building out new directions for the longer-term future:
  • Expand Macy's Backstage as an exciting new dimension in retailing across America. Over the next two years, the company will roll out about 50 free-standing Macy's Backstage stores in off-mall locations, building on the pilot launch this fall. In addition, in spring 2016 the company will pilot Backstage stores within up to 10 existing Macy's store locations, creating a new hybrid store (the first in retailing) that offers the latest fashions, outstanding service and major brands for which Macy's is known, along with the thrill of the hunt associated with the finds and bargains at Backstage.
  • Open approximately 40 additional Bluemercury self-standing beauty specialty stores (bringing the total store base to approximately 115 by the end of 2017), while also integrating Bluemercury shops into the beauty departments of Macy's stores.
  • Appropriately expand Macy's internationally based on the learnings we expect from the Macy's China Limited pilot with Alibaba's Tmall Global beginning in the fourth quarter.
Third quarter sales
Sales in the third quarter of 2015 totaled $5.874 billion, a decrease of 5.2 percent, compared with sales of $6.195 billion in the same period last year. Comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis were down by 3.6 percent in the third quarter. On an owned basis, third quarter comparable sales declined by 3.9 percent.

For the year to date, Macy's, Inc. sales totaled $18.210 billion, down 2.8 percent from total sales of $18.741 billion in the first three quarters of 2014. Comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis were down by 1.7 percent year-to-date in 2015. On an owned basis, year-to-date comparable sales declined by 2.2 percent.

In the third quarter, the company opened a new Macy's store in Ponce, PR, five Macy's Backstage stores in metro New York City, and 10 new Bluemercury freestanding specialty stores. The company closed Macy's stores in Bedford, NH, and Owings Mills, MD. In the fourth quarter, scheduled store openings include a full-line Bloomingdale's in Honolulu, three Bloomingdale's Outlets, and one Macy's Backstage. A Macy's store in Los Angeles, is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter of 2015 in preparation for a new store to be built in the same mall.

Operating income
Macy's, Inc.'s third quarter 2015 operating income was $369 million or 6.3 percent of sales, excluding asset impairment charges of $111 million primarily related to previously-announced plans to close 35 to 40 stores in early 2016. This compares with operating income of $422 million or 6.8 percent of sales for the same period last year. Macy's, Inc.'s operating income including the asset impairment charges totaled $258 million or 4.4 percent of sales for the quarter ended Oct. 31, 2015.

For the first three quarters of 2015, Macy's, Inc.'s operating income was $1.214 billion or 6.7 percent of sales, excluding asset impairment charges of $111 million primarily related to previously-announced store closings. This compares with operating income of $1.436 billion or 7.7 percent of sales for the same period last year. Macy's, Inc.'s year-to-date 2015 operating income including the asset impairment charges totaled $1.103 billion or 6.1 percent of sales.

Cash flow
Net cash provided by operating activities was $278 million in the first three quarters of 2015, compared with $841 million in the first three quarters of 2014. Net cash used by investing activities in the first three quarters of 2015 was $861 million, compared with $660 million a year ago. Investing activities in year-to-date 2015 included $212 million for the acquisition of Bluemercury. Net cash used by financing activities in the first three quarters of 2015 was $1.189 billion, compared with net cash used by financing activities in the first three quarters of 2014 of $1.406 billion.

The company repurchased approximately 16.7 million shares of its common stock for a total of approximately $900 million in the third quarter of 2015. In the fiscal year to date, the company repurchased approximately 30.6 million shares of its common stock for approximately $1.84 billion. At Oct. 31, 2015, the company had remaining authorization to repurchase up to approximately $700 million of its common stock.
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