TheStreet's Jim Cramer reiterated his stance on Macy's (M - Get Report) Wednesday after the department store retailer cut its full year same-store sales guidance as it reported first quarter earnings that topped estimates but top line sales that came in below expectations.
"I've been saying to avoid Macy's," said Cramer. "I think that the department stores are in secular decline in the country. It's just not the way people shop anymore."
Cincinnati-based Macy's reported that first quarter sales fell 7.4% year-over-year to $5.77 billion, missing forecasts for $5.94 billion. Same-store sales declined for the fifth straight quarter, falling 5.6% compared to estimates for a 3.8% decline.
Earnings, adjusted for one-time items, came in at 40 cents a share, surpassing forecasts for 36 cents a share as Macy's bottom line benefited from $130 million in share repurchases made during the quarter. Shares outstanding fell 9.5% year over year as a result of the share repurchases, which had the effect of boosting per share earnings.
Macy's slashed its full year same-store sales guidance to a decline in a range of 3% to 4% from a previous estimate for a 1% drop. For the year, Macy's now sees earnings of $3.15 to $3.40 a share, down from $3.80 to $3.90 a share offered back in February.
In midday trading on Wednesday, shares of Macy's were changing hands at $31.99, down 13.5%.
In July of last year, activist investor Jeff Smith of Starboard Value revealed at the Delivering Alpha conference in New York that Starboard had taken a stake in the department store chain and that he wanted to see it consider separating into two companies, one consisting of its retail operations and the other of its real estate.
Macy's has resisted the push to spin off its real estate, but has taken several measures to appease Starboard. The retailer announced last year that it was pursuing real estate transactions to enhance shareholder value. In January of this year, it completed a transaction with developer Tishman Speyer.
In March, Macy's named William Lenehan, an expert in real estate trusts, to its board followed by the appointment of Douglas Sesler as executive vice president for real estate in April.
Macy's said in the earnings release on Wednesday that it is "evaluating proposals from potential partners for joint ventures or similar arrangements involving Macy's flagship locations and the company's mall-based store portfolio."
"These complex transactions are being thoroughly explored," Macy's said. "Meanwhile, the company will continue its work to monetize unproductive real estate."