Macy's said based on the positive momentum in its 840-store and online businesses as well as its "confidence in our future performance," it was raising its common stock dividend by 25% -- its third increase in the dividend in two years -- and authorizing a $1.5 billion increase in its share repurchase authorization. "The first quarter demonstrated our ability to continue to build on our success over the past few years in growing sales and earnings," Macy's chairman, president and CEO Terry J. Lundgren, said in the earnings release. Macy's was able to deliver the earnings beat despite the cool spring weather, particularly in the Northeast -- a factor that other retailers, including JC Penney ( JCP) and Target ( TGT) have already warned would hinder quarterly sales.
Still Lundgren noted that Macy's saw consumer weakness in the quarter "among some of the most budget-conscious consumers, as well as among our higher household income Bloomingdale's customers." "We are continuing to pursue myriad new growth opportunities within our time-tested M.O.M. strategies (My Macy's, Omnichannel and Magic Selling). These strategies continue to work individually -- and in unison -- at Macy's to meet the needs of customers seeking fashion, quality, value and convenience," Lundgren said.
Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT), Kohl's ( KSS), JCPenney, TJX Companies and Nordstrom ( JWN) all report earnings on Thursday. Macy's quarterly dividend is now 25 cents per share compared to 20 cents a share, previously. It's share repurchase program now totals $2.6 billion. Since resuming its share repurchase program in August 2011, Macy's has bought back approximately 60.3 million shares for approximately $2.2 billion through May 4, 2013. Macy's reaffirmed its forecast for comparable sales growth of 3.5% this year. The company also reiterated its guidance for earnings per diluted share in fiscal 2013 of $3.90 to $3.95. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.