Macy's Earnings Surge on Rising Sales

Macy's Inc.'s (M) first-quarter earnings soared because of rising revenue, tight expense controls and its efforts to tailor merchandise by region.

The department store chain also said Wednesday that it is doubling its quarterly dividend and raising its full-year earnings and sales outlook.

Macy's reported net income of $131 million, or 30 cents per share, in the three months ended April 30. That compares with $23 million, or 5 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Revenue reached $5.88 billion, up 5.7 percent.

Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 5.4 percent. The measure is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes stores that opened or closed during the year.

Analysts expected earnings of 18 cents on revenue of $5.89 billion, according to FactSet.

"We are building a culture of growth at Macy's," Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. "Our performance cannot be attributed to a single factor, but rather to the coordinated execution of a series of complementary ... strategies."

Macy's has taken business from competitors in part by tailoring stock in each store to its region and by placing more emphasis on exclusive brands such as Material Girl from Madonna and her daughter Lourdes. The company gets about 43 percent of its revenue from private, exclusive and limited-distribution brands.

Macy's now expects revenue at stores open at least a year to be in the range of about 4 percent for the rest of fiscal 2011. Combined with actual first-quarter figures, that would calculate to growth of about 4.3 percent for the fiscal year. The previous outlook called for 3 percent.

Earnings per share are now expected to be between $2.40 and $2.45 per share, compared with $2.25 to $2.30 per share previously. Analysts had expected $2.34 per share, according to Factset.

Macy's said that based on "the strength, momentum and confidence in our business," it's doubling its quarterly dividend to 10 cents payable July 1 to shareholders on record June 14.

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