While Macy's Inc. (M) on Thursday, Nov. 9, reported quarterly sales below analysts' expectations, investors cheered profits ahead of consensus estimates and continued digital growth.

During the quarter ending Oct. 28, Macy's reported net sales of $5.28 billion, down 6.1% year over year and below the consensus estimate of $5.31 billion, according to FactSet data. Earnings of 23 cents per share, excluding restructuring costs, exceeded analysts' expected 19 cents per share and was well above the 5 cents per share reported in the same quarter in 2016.

Same-store sales fell 4%, Macy's 11th consecutive quarter of same-store sales declines.

CEO Jeff Gennette touted the launch of Macy's new Star Rewards loyalty program and double-digit digital growth.

"We are excited about our plans for holiday, which is when Macy's truly shines as a gifting destination," Gennette, who replaced longtime CEO Terry Lundgren in March, said in a statement. "The loyalty program, special in-store experiences and a strong mobile and online presence will help drive holiday sales. We are bringing our fashion authority to bear on holiday trends and have a strong product assortment.

During the quarter, Macy's announced plans to close three stores in California early next year and added eight new freestanding Bluemercury beauty stores, for a total of 135. The company also added seven new Macy's Backstage discount stores within existing stores, for a total of 45.

Macy's also reaffirmed its full-year guidance. The company expects total sales to fall 3.2% to 4.3% in fiscal 2017, with earnings of $3.38 to $3.63 per share.

Macy's shares rose 3% to $18.09 in premarket trading Thursday.

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Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 9.

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