Retail Bloodbath: Macy's Crashes After Woeful Results, Drags All Department Stores Lower

Retailer woes continued this morning when Macy's reported another round of pitiful quarterly earnings, which saw comp store sales at owned plus licensed stores tumble -4.6%, below the already depressed estimate of -3.5%. On an "owned" basis, the miss was even worse, with Q1 comps sliding -5.2%,, almost twice as bad as the consensus estimate of -3.0%.

Earnings were just as bad with the company reported Q1 adjusted EPS 24c on sales of $5.34 billion, missing estimates of $5.45 billion, barely making the lowest estimate; the profit margin also disappointed with gross profit printing at 38.1%, below the 38.84% estimate. Meanwhile, with Q1 inventory of $5.63 billion rising from $5.4 billion at year end, more margin eroding liquidation sales are likely on deck.

The only good news was that Macy’s maintained its fiscal 2017 sales and earnings guidance, which however was not nearly enough for the market, which has dragged Macy's stock lower by 12%, to the lowest since October 2011.

Macy's (and Kohl's which also reported and missed) numbers were so bad, they have dragged down the entire department store sector, with stocks sliding in the premarket as follows: Nordstrom -3%, J. C. Penney -4.6%. Earlier Dillard’s also reported 1Q net sales shortfall, with comps. down 4% y/y

Macy's is just the first of many retailers set to report what are likely to be very disappointing results. According to FactSet just over a third of the companies that have yet to report actual results for the first quarter are retailers. This is how the retail sub-industry earnings are poised to look as they come out: needless to say General merchandise and food retail stores, as well as Department Stores are poised for a bloodbath.

Some more details from FactSet:

  • Of the 13 retail sub-industries in the S&P 500, just four have reported or are expected to report earnings growth for the first quarter, led by the Internet & Direct Marketing Retail and Home Improvement Retail sub-industries.
  • The Internet Direct Marketing Retail sub-industry is expected to report the highest earnings growth of all 13 retail sub-industries at 22.4%. However, only two of the five companies in this sub-industry have reported or are expected to report earnings growth for the first quarter: ($1.48 vs. $1.07) and Netflix ($0.40 vs. $0.06).
  • The Home Improvement Retail sub-industry is projected to report the second highest earnings growth at 9.6%. Both companies in this sub-industry are expected to report earnings growth for the quarter, led by Lowe’s Companies. The mean EPS estimate for Lowe’s Companies is $1.05, compared to year-ago EPS of $0.87. Lowe’s Companies is scheduled to release results on May 24.
  • At the company level, 18 of the 37 S&P 500 companies in these 13 retail sub-industries are expected to report or have already reported EPS growth for the first quarter, led by Netflix (+567%), (+38%), Ulta Beauty (+24%), and Lowe’s Companies (+21%).