by MR Magazine Staff

Macy’s reported better-than-expected sales and profits for the fourth quarter, helped by a boost from last-minute shoppers who lifted sales in the days leading up to Christmas.

Sales fell to $8.34 billion from $8.46 billion a year earlier but were higher than the $8.32 billion analysts expected.

Same-store sales for the quarter declined 0.5 percent, on an owned plus licensed basis — a drop from 0.7 percent growth reported over the same quarter a year earlier.

The company reported holiday sales last month that didn’t decline as much, year-over-year, as investors expected. The company said same-store sales fell 0.6 percent at its owned and licensed stores during November and December.

“Taken as a whole, 2019 did not play out as we intended for Macy’s, Inc.,” said Jeff Gennette, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc. “However, we executed well during the Holiday 2019 season. We were pleased with the significant trend improvement in the fourth quarter, including a meaningful sales uptick in the 10 shopping days before Christmas. Together with disciplined expense management, our solid sales results in the fourth quarter allowed us to deliver stronger-than-expected earnings results. Importantly, we exited the year with a clean inventory position.”

The quarterly report comes three weeks after the department store chain said it was closing 125 of its least productive stores and cutting 2,000 corporate jobs. It also says it is testing new smaller-store formats. The store closures represent one-fifth of Macy’s total. They include about 30 that are in the process of closing and account for $1.4 billion in annual sales.