Macy’s posts positive sales

US department store retailer Macy’s has reported positive sales for the festive trading season, after improved sales on and offline.

Macy’s comparable sales on an owned basis increased 1.0 percent in the months of November and December 2017 combined, compared to the same period last year. On an owned plus licensed basis, comparable sales increased 1.1 percent in the combined November/December period.

“Macy’s had a solid holiday shopping season, and we are pleased that our November/December performance resulted in positive comp sales for the period, setting us up for a positive fourth quarter,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s CEO.

“Consumers were ready to spend this season, and we delivered with solid execution, fresher inventory, a curated gift assortment and a focus on customer experience.

“We saw improved sales trends in our stores and continued to see double-digit growth on our digital platforms. We intend to close the fourth quarter in a good position and head into 2018 with momentum.”

Macy’s has completed 81 of its approximately 100 planned store closures announced in August 2016. The company intends to close approximately 19 additional stores as leases or operating covenants expire or sale transactions are completed.

“These closures are part of a multi-year effort by the company to ensure the optimal mix of brick & mortar stores and digital footprint,” the retailer stated.

Neil Saunders, managing director of data and analytics firm GlobalData Retail said the holiday sales growth at Macy’s is a welcome change from the red numbers it usually posts and sends a positive signal that other retailers are on course for a solid holiday season.

“That said, in our view, Macy’s success comes with a few caveats,” he said.

“The first is that growth remains relatively weak and comes off the back of soft prior year comparatives when comparable sales fell by 2.1 per cent. The second is that while Macy’s grew, it did so by far less than the overall sector; as such it is still losing market share both in total and within a number of key categories. The third is that the growth is more a function of a robust market where consumers were willing to spend than a consequence of the various actions Macy’s has taken to-date.”

“Indeed, the company’s announcements of further store closures and more cost-streaming underscore the need for more surgery to restore the business to health.

“In our view, Macy’s still has an enormous amount of work to do here. In short, these results are a step in the right direction, but Macy’s has a very long journey ahead of it before it can declare itself to be on the path to prosperity.”

* This story first appeared on sister site Inside Retail Australia.

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