What happened

Shares of Macy's Inc. (NYSE:M) declined 8.2% Tuesday after the company stated its fiscal second-quarter gross margin could arrive below expectations.

So what

Speaking during a scheduled investor meeting this morning, Macy's CFO Karen Hoguet noted that gross margin in the current quarter is now expected to drop roughly 60 to 80 basis points from the same year-ago period.  

Macy's store exterior

IMAGE SOURCE: MACY'S.

For perspective, last quarter Macy's gross margin slipped 100 basis points year over year, to 38.1%, due to a combination of ending fiscal 2016 with higher-than-expected inventory and weak sales trends in February, as well as margin headwinds stemming from promotional activity and competition in several business segments including beauty, housewares, and fashion watches. However, Macy's management also suggested those margin headwinds would wane as the company sped up its inventory turnover and accelerated sales of private-label brands like Martha Stewart and I.N.C.

Now what

To be fair, Hoguet also noted today that Macy's can still achieve its full-year 2017 financial guidance, especially as the company continues its expense reduction efforts. But given its continued gross margin pressure amid the already difficult task of succeeding in today's tough retail environment, it's no surprise to see shares pulling back today.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.