Macy’s Q1 earnings soar; raises outlook

Cincinnati — Macy’s first-quarter earnings soared and easily beat Wall Street predictions on rising sales, tight expense controls and its efforts to tailor merchandise by region. The department store operator is doubling its quarterly dividend and raising its full-year earnings and sales outlook.

Macy’s posted net income of $131 million for the quarter that ended on April 30, nearly six times higher than the $23 million it reported a year earlier.

Same-store sales rose 5.4%, as Macy's previously reported, while overall sales rose 5.7% to $5.9 billion.

Online revenue for Macy's and Bloomingdale's combined jumped 38.3% in the first quarter. The increase helped boost revenue at stores open at least a year by 1.3 percentage points.

"We are building a culture of growth at Macy's," Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. "Our performance cannot be attributed to a single factor, but rather to the coordinated execution of a series of complementary ... strategies."

Gross margin, which reflects the profitability of the items Macy's sells, slid 0.3 percentage points to 39.1% as Macy's dealt with rising cotton costs. But the company has repeatedly said its clout with vendors was mitigating some of that risk.