Macy’s Profit Tops Estimates Before Holiday Fight

Macy’s Inc. (M), the second-largest U.S. department-store chain, posted third-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates while its forecast for the end of the year signaled it may use heavy discounts to draw holiday shoppers.

Net income in the period ended Oct. 27 rose 4.3 percent to $145 million, or 36 cents a share, from $139 million, or 32 cents, a year earlier, Cincinnati-based Macy’s said today in a statement. The average of 16 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 30 cents. Profit per share in the current quarter will be $1.94 to $1.99, trailing the $2.05 average estimate.

Chief Executive Officer Terry Lundgren has benefited from exclusive Madonna, Sean John and Tommy Hilfiger products that helped boost third-quarter revenue 3.8 percent to $6.08 billion. The retailer also used promotions such as one-day sales to drive customer traffic and may employ more of those in the competitive holiday shopping season.

“The fourth quarter is always a promotional quarter, and I am sure they want to participate in that promotional activity, and they want to beat analyst estimates,” Liz Dunn, an analyst with Macquarie Group Ltd. in New York, said today in an interview. She rates the shares outperform, the equivalent of a buy, and said the third-quarter profit was “really impressive.”

The shares fell 2.2 percent to $40.45 at the close in New York. Macy’s has climbed 26 percent this year.

Sales Gains

Macy’s third-quarter sales topped analysts’ average estimate of $6.05 billion when the company reported the results last week. The retailer also last week increased its forecast for sales at stores open at least a year to 4 percent in the second half of 2012 from an earlier projection of 3.7 percent. The company said today it will stop reporting monthly sales beginning in its fiscal 2013.

The retailer’s gross margin, or the portion of sales left after subtracting the cost of goods sold, widened to 39.6 percent from 39.4 percent a year earlier. Selling, general and administrative expenses fell to 34.2 percent of sales from 34.4 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cotten Timberlake in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kevin Orland at

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