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Why Macy's Inc. Shares Plummeted Today

By Jeremy Bowman - May 11, 2016 at 1:04PM

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Shares of the department store chain tumbled after an ugly earnings report. Here's what you need to know.

What: Shares of Macy's (M -1.91%) were getting hammered today after the company reported its fifth straight quarterly sales decline in its earnings report this morning. As of 12:02 p.m. ET, the stock was down 13.3%.

So what: The market had been worried about a weak quarter from Macy's as recent retail sales reports had been underwhelming, and those fears were confirmed. The nation's leading department store chain significantly cut back its sales and earnings forecasts for the year as comparable sales plunged 5.6%, a sign that Macy's recent struggles have only gotten worse. Adjusted earnings per share fell from $0.56 a year ago to $0.40, but actually beat estimates at $0.36.

CEO Terry Lundgren said the company was experiencing "continued weakness in consumer spending levels for apparel and related categories," and noted that sales particularly slowed in mid-March. 

Now what: Macy's reduced its full-year guidance in all major categories, forecasting a drop in same-store sales of 3%-4% and EPS of $3.15-$3.40, down from an original range of $3.80-$3.90.

In the earnings release, management outlined a plan to ameliorate the business, which includes rolling out more of its off-price Backstage stores, adding exclusive product launches, and further cutting spending in non-customer-service categories. Though management expected the business to come back later in the year, the company seems to be at the whim of the macroeconomic environment and consumer spending habits. Until those improve, I'd expect the stock to languish. 

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