At first glance, Macy's fourth quarter followed the pattern of every retail story this earnings season: revenue lower than expected, disappointing comparable sales and more blame heaped on a winter harsher than normal. Even CEO Terry Lundgren admitted disappointment in the results. Unlike competitors, however, Macy's managed to keep its gross margin steady at 40.6%, indicating the retailer didn't engage in deeper-than-normal discounts like many retailers over the recent holiday season.

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