Macy's Is Optimistic on Second Quarter Due to Improving Business Trends

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Macy's are climbing on Wednesday after the retailer reported profit that narrowly beat analysts' expectations despite the bad winter weather and also raised its dividend and increased its share buyback program by $1.5 billion.


Bad weather weighed on Macy's (M) sales in the first quarter, but the retailer's profit still managed to narrowly beat analysts' expectations.

Macy's reported a 1.7% decline in quarterly sales. In a statement, Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said, "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."

Macy's reported net income that climbed to $224 million, or 60 cents a share, in the period, on revenue that slipped to nearly $6.3 billion. Analysts expected a profit of 59 cents a share on revenue of about $6.4 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.  The company also raised its dividend and increased its share buyback program by $1.5 billion.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch research analyst Lorraine Hutchinson said in a note,  "While the promotional environment remains challenging, we think Macy's is poised for continued growth in 2014 driven chiefly by its core M.O.M. strategies and we reiterate our Buy rating."  M.O.M. stands for Macy's three-pronged business strategy, My Macy's, Omnichannel and MAGIC Selling.

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