Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) today reported earnings of 60 cents per diluted share for the first quarter of 2014, the 13-week period ended May 3, 2014, an increase of 9 percent compared with earnings of 55 cents per diluted share in the first quarter of 2013. Based on expectations for continued strong performance in 2014, the company also announced a 25 percent increase in its dividend on common stock and a $1.5 billion increase in its share repurchase authorization.
“Overall, business trends were soft in January through March, with the exception of the Valentine’s Day shopping period. The trend improved in April when the weather began to turn in northern climate zones. We see this as a good sign moving forward into the second quarter. In addition to weather, first quarter comparisons were negatively impacted by a calendar shift for our popular Friends & Family event and the fact that we were up against a very strong first quarter last year,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer.
“We continue to have a positive outlook for 2014 and are reaffirming the full-year guidance we provided in January. The fundamentals of our business and our ongoing strategies remain strong. This, combined with the momentum we have built over the past five years, leads us to feel confident about the company’s prospects. Our Board shares this confidence and increased our dividend and share repurchase authorization to provide an even greater return for our shareholders,” Lundgren said.
Sales in the first quarter of 2014 totaled $6.279 billion, a decrease of 1.7 percent, compared with sales of $6.387 billion in the same period last year. On a comparable sales basis, Macy’s, Inc.’s first quarter sales were down 1.6 percent in 2014 compared with 2013. Together with sales from departments licensed to third parties, first quarter 2014 sales on a comparable basis were down 0.8 percent.