Chilton Investment Company buys a new position in Macy’s

Market Realist

Must-know: Chilton Investment's Company's 4Q13 positions (Part 4 of 8)

(Continued from Part 3)

Chilton Investment Company and Macy’s

Chilton initiated positions in Abbott Laboratories (ABT), U.S. Bancorp (USB), Macy’s Inc. (M), and TransDigm Group Inc. (TDG). The fund sold its stakes in Genesco Inc. (GCO), Bally Technologies Inc. (BYI), and CarMax Inc. (KMX).

Chilton initiated a new position in Macy’s Inc. (M) that accounts for 0.77% of the fund’s fourth quarter portfolio.

Macy’s is an omnichannel retailer operating stores and websites under two brands (Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s) that sell a wide range of merchandise, including apparel and accessories (men’s, women’s, and children’s), cosmetics, home furnishings, and other consumer goods.

Under the “MOM” (My Macy’s, Omnichannel, and MAGIC Selling) strategy, the company focuses on three key strategies for continued growth in sales, earnings, and cash flow in the years ahead:

  1. Maximizing the My Macy’s localization initiative
  2. Driving the omnichannel business
  3. Embracing customer centricity, including engaging customers on the selling floor, through the MAGIC Selling program

Through the My Macy’s localization initiative, Macy’s has invested in talent, technology, and marketing, which ensures that core customers surrounding each Macy’s store find merchandise assortments, size ranges, marketing programs, and shopping experiences custom-tailored to their needs. The omnichannel strategy allows customers to shop seamlessly in stores, online, and via mobile devices. Macy’s MAGIC Selling program is an approach to customer engagement that helps Macy’s to better understand the needs of customers, as well as to provide options and advice designed to improve the in-store shopping experience.

Macy’s beat Street estimates on fourth quarter earnings but missed on revenue. Sales in the 13-week fourth quarter of 2013 totaled $9.202 billion, down 1.6% from total sales of $9.350 billion in the 14-week fourth quarter of 2012. Comparable sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 grew 1.4%. Fourth quarter 2013 earnings were $2.16 per diluted share—up 18% over the comparable period a year ago.

However, shares went down after management said it expected disappointing January sales. “While we had expected a sales decline in January because of the calendar shift, the month was down further than we had expected and we are very disappointed with sales performance in January. In part, poor January sales were due to the unusually harsh winter weather across much of the country,” CEO Terry J. Lundgren said. The business continued to be sluggish until early February, he added.

In January, the company reported strong holiday season sales, but it also announced some cost-cutting initiatives, including plans to lay off around 2,500 employees to sustain profitable sales growth in the future. The changes were estimated to generate savings of approximately $100 million per year, beginning in 2014. Under the plan, Macy’s said it will close five stores in Arizona, Missouri, New York, Kansas, and Utah with a combined 700,000 square feet.

M hedge

In its guidance for 2014, the company expects continued improvement in sales and earnings in the coming year from its core MOM strategy. Comparable sales growth in fiscal 2014 is expected in the range of 2.5% to 3%. Earnings of $4.40 to $4.50 per share are expected in 2014.

Commerce department data indicated that retail sales increased in February after a severe winter weather had slowed down demand in the last two months. Retail sales increased 0.3% last month, following a 0.6% drop in January.

To learn more about Macy’s and about the impact of the Redbook Index on other leading department stores like Bon-Ton Stores (BONT), Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN), J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP), and Saks, Inc. (SKS), please read The Redbook Index release: Indications about the department stores.

Continue to Part 5

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