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Macy's Blames "Tepid Spending" On Revenue Miss: Same Store Sales Tumble; Slashes Guidance

The "unexpected" weakness among US consumption, that segment accountable for 70% of US GDP, continues this morning when moments ago Macy's reported a trifecta of weak data, reporting a miss on Q3 sales which came at $5.87 billion below the $6.1 billion expected, and down from the $6.2 billion a year ago, but also a plunge in comparable store sales which tumbled by 3.9%, far worse than the expected drop of -0.4%, and nearly three times as bad as the 1.4% drop a year ago.

Cash flow plunged: cash provided by operating activities was $278 million in the first three quarters of 2015, compared with $841 million in the first three quarters of 2014.

Finally, M also slashed its full year same store guidance down from flat to -1.8% to -2.2% with sales projected to drop -2.7% to -3.1%, compared to a previous guidance of -1%, as contrary to the propaganda, the discretionary spending of the US consumer is bad and getting worse by the day.

Here is the company's explanation for this debacle:

“We are disappointed that the pace of sales did not improve in the third quarter, as we had expected. Spending by domestic customers remained tepid, especially in key apparel and accessory categories. Simultaneously, the slowdown in buying by international visitors continued to significantly impact Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in tourist centers, which are some of our company’s largest-volume and most profitable locations,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc.

 

“Moving forward, we are accelerating steps needed to adapt in response to changing customer shopping preferences so we can restore our annual comparable sales growth on an owned plus licensed basis in the years ahead to the level of 2 percent to 3 percent while re-attaining an EBITDA rate as percent of sales of 14 percent. This includes building on our strength as a leading omnichannel innovator with consistent growth in online sales,” Lundgren said. “No other retailer has our track record of mastering change and creating shareholder value with a model of customer centricity. We have a deep and resourceful management team that is skilled in creating and executing successful strategies. Since the beginning of fiscal 2009, we have returned nearly $9 billion to shareholders. Our Total Shareholder Return has been 540 percent during that period, compared with a 121 percent increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.”

Any time a company starts touting its historical share return to justify a terrible quarter, run.

M, just like MCD, announced it would not be pursuing a REIT conversion at this time.

After extensive review with the assistance of our experienced financial, tax, legal and real estate advisors, the company has decided not to pursue the formation of a REIT at this time. The board of directors has concluded that a REIT does not offer sufficient upside potential for value creation. To the extent that circumstances change, we may revisit this alternative in the future.

And while readers are still thinking about that 540% return since 2009, here is why it won't be repeated any time soon. Presenting the company's guidance:

The company has revised its 2015 guidance. Earnings per diluted share for the full-year 2015 now are expected in the range of $4.20 to $4.30, excluding asset impairment charges associated primarily with previously announced store closings. This compares with previous guidance in the range of $4.70 to $4.80. Updated annual guidance calculates to guidance for fourth quarter earnings of $2.54 to $2.64 per diluted share, excluding any additional charges associated with store closings or cost reductions. Earnings guidance for 2015 includes gains from asset sales, including approximately $60 million from the sale of real estate in Seattle and an expected $250 million gain on the sale of real estate in downtown Brooklyn.

 

Guidance is for full-year 2015 comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis to decrease by 1.8 percent to 2.2 percent, compared with previous guidance of approximately flat. This calculates to fourth quarter comparable sales on an owned plus licensed basis to decline by 2.0 percent to 3.0 percent. Full-year and fourth quarter 2015 comparable sales on an owned basis will be approximately 50 basis points lower than on an owned plus licensed basis. The company expects 2015 total sales to be down by 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent, compared to previous guidance for total sales to be down approximately 1 percent.

Oh well, time to blame the "unseasonably warm weather" again.

And on all this horrible news, the stock is inexplicably down.