Macy’s sales comparison up; co. boosts outlook

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Department store Macy’s Inc. said Thursday that sales in stores open at least a year rose 1 percent in December, as online sales surged.

The company also raised its fourth-quarter earnings guidance.

Total sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 3 edged up less than 1 percent to $4.43 billion from $4.4 billion last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected sales in stores open at least one year to rise a slightly smaller 0.8 percent.

Sales at stores open at least a year are a key measure of retailer performance because they measure growth at existing stores rather than from newly opened ones.

The company, which also operates Bloomingdale’s, said that chain had a “particularly strong December” with strong sales of gifts and designer brands.

Online sales rose 29.4 percent in December and 19.3 percent year-to-date. Macy’s includes online sales when it calculates sales in stores open at least a year.

Year-to-date, sales in stores open at least a year fell 5.8 percent, while total sales fell 6.1 percent to $23.68 billion.

Cincinnati-based Macy’s raised its fourth-quarter earnings guidance to $1.14 to $1.18 per share, up from prior guidance of $1 to $1.05 per share. Analysts expect a profit of $1.13 per share.

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