In fact, the iconic department store retailer may have several catalysts that could propel its shares higher. "Macy's has several initiatives in place to spur growth," says Jefferies analyst Randy Konick, who highlights the opening of new Bluemercury cosmetics shops and off-price retail concepts called Backstage as two specific financial drivers.
"We do see downside protection [to Macy's stock] from its sizable owned real estate portfolio, which is likely to be monetized in the intermediate term," adds Konik.
TheStreet takes a look at two of the biggest factors that may cause investors to fall in love with Macy's in the new year.
Macy's is very likely nearing even more value creating real estate deals if a barrage of recent transactions are any indication. Outgoing CEO Terry Lundgren is almost singularly focused on getting Macy's real estate right - after all, he doesn't want his legacy to read he missed the opportunity to create a nimbler Macy's in the age of digital shopping. Moreover, Lundgren appears dead set on leaving Macy's in as good a spot as possible for long-time company executive Jeff Gennette, his hand-picked successor will assume the CEO role in early 2017.
In mid-November, Macy's inked a contract to sell a 248,000-square-foot location in San Francisco for a cool $250 million. The transaction is scheduled to close in January, and Macy's will realize a gain of about $235 million in January 2018. Macy's will lease the site for two to three years while the building is being reconfigured. It has also disclosed a deal to sell a store in downtown Portland, OR, for $54 million, which will net it about $36 million when the transaction closes in the fourth quarter.
Topping it off, the company will join forces with property developer Brookfield Asset Management to re-develop as many 50 sites that it currently owns or leases. Earlier in November it sold five stores -- which opened between 1980 and 1993 -- to mall developer General Growth Properties (GGP) for $46 million for which it booked a gain of $32 million during the third quarter. Since the beginning of 2015, Macy's has announced or completed asset sales with projected proceeds exceeding $800 million.
Next up for Macy's busy deal team may be a transaction for its most storied location. The company continues to explore options for its iconic Herald Square location in New York City, which has reportedly been valued at about $1 billion.
Listening to Gennette speak to investors at a Goldman Sachs conference in September, it became clear to any casual observer that he has crafted a long-term vision for Macy's. In Corporate America speak, call it a five-year plan to win. At some point next year that plan is likely to be articulated to Wall Street during an analyst and media day.
Before then, look for the company to announce more deals to add shops in its best stores (resembling what it has done with Finish Line (FINL) and Luxottica), detail additional real estate deals, and finish closing 100 stores. By mid-year, Macy's will have multiple positive things to share with Wall Street - including unveiling a refreshed executive team -- and probably, long-term profit targets (not unlike what J.C. Penney(JCP) - Get Report has done under new CEO Marvin Ellison). It may also clearly articulate what it intends to do with all of the cash it's raising via real estate sales.
The new insight could serve to set the grounds for a nice rally in Macy's stock.