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Tiffany Montgomery
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What is selling at Macys and other info

By Tiffany Montgomery
May 21, 2008 7:17 AM

There was some interesting information in the Macy's first quarter earnings conference call last week.


Strong categories: mens furnishings, mens collections, young mens, cosmetics, fashion jewelry, watches, handbags, mattresses, housewares.


Weak categories: women's ready-to-wear and home textiles. While overall women's was weak, Macy's did see more strength in contemporary and denim-based brands.


Other sales trends: Casual looks are selling, especially value-driven, pick-me-up items that can refresh a wardrobe. While value is important, highly desirable premium brands are selling well. Serious outfit and structured career pieces are not selling well.


Financials: Sales fell 2.9 percent to $5.75 billion. Same-store sales fell 2.6 percent. The company reported a loss of $59 million compared to a profit of $36 million the same quarter last year, mainly due to charges for unusual items. Inventory was down 4 percent.


Economic climate
: Macy's expects the environment to remain challenging through the third quarter. The company reaffirmed its comp store guidance of down 1 percent to up 1.5 percent for the year. CFO Karen Hoguet said the goal is to maintain flexibility, with merchants ordering conservatively and contingency plans in place to reduce expenses and capital expenditures if the climate doesn't improve.


Tommy Hilfiger: Macy's will launch its exclusive deal with with Hilfiger in the fall.


Results by month: February and March were weak, sales improved in April. Early May started off well.


Vendor relations
: Macy's is working on a pilot program later this year to better share sales trends information with vendors.


Bloomingdale's results: Bloomingdale's had a tough quarter. The chain performed better than Macy's but worse than it had been performing.


New stores: The company's growth will mostly come in lifestyle centers which require a smaller store format, about 120,000 square feet.


Online: The company recently killed its Bloomingdale's catalog to focus on online sales. Company-wide, Macy's expects $1 billion in online sales this year.


International: Macy's recently promoted Dan Edelman, COO and president of Macy's West, to president of international retail development. The company is studying international expansion and sees that happening for Macy's and Bloomingdale's in four to five years.


Tax rebate checks
: Macy's does not expect a big boost from tax rebate checks.


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