Macy's Stops Reporting Monthly Results

New York Macy's Inc. has joined the ranks of retailers that have stopped disclosing monthly results. Effective 2008, the company said it has decided to no longer report sales on a monthly basis in addition to its previously announced decision not to provide quarterly earnings guidance.

Other chains that previously eliminated disclosing monthly results include Sears Holdings Corp., Home Depot Inc. and Dollar General Corp. The monthly reports have lost some significance as an economic indicator over time. Analysts have noted that monthly results do not include two major, and relatively new, retail forces: online sales and gift cards. Timing of holidays on the calendar can also skew monthly sales figures, making it harder to catch a meaningful trend.

But for investors, the monthly numbers provide a timely peek at sales trends that is even more important with the economy shaky. Macy's decision to withhold its monthly sales only underscores the increasingly difficult environment for U.S. retailers, many of which have seen their shares tumble in recent months. Two other retailers, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. and CVS Caremark Corp., abandoned reporting monthly sales as of January.

Fewer than 50 retailers now report monthly results, down from 70 three years ago, according to TNS Retail Forward, Columbus, Ohio.

"Increasingly, the thought is that reporting monthly sales results makes retailers susceptible to managing on a month-to-month basis," said Frank Badillo, senior retail economist at Retail Forward.

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