Macy's Posts Loss on Weak Sales, Restructuring

Cincinnati Macy's Inc. reported a $59 million first-quarter loss Wednesday because of lower sales and the costs of consolidation, which the company said should start paying off next year.

Losses in the three months ended March 31, are compared to a profit of $36 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue for the quarter totaled $5.75 billion, down from $5.92 billion a year ago. Same-store sales were down 2.6%.

Macy's booked a $55 million after-tax charge for the restructuring. Macy's also set aside $14 million after tax for a potential settlement of a wage-and-hour class-action lawsuit in California.

CFO Karen Hoguet told analysts in a conference call Wednesday that despite a decline same-store sales, Macy's fared well in a difficult retail environment.

"This gives us comfort that the strategies we are executing are right, and that customers are responding well to our offerings," Hoguet said.

Sales in the quarter were stronger in the Northeast and in Texas, she said, but weaker on the West Coast and in Florida. Womens' apparel continued to be a tough category, while men's products did better, according to Hoguet.

She said premium brands and Macy's private brands are selling well.

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