Macy's reported a 4.3 percent decline in quarterly comparable sales, slightly better than the 4.7 percent decline the department store operator had estimated, helped by improving sales due to colder weather in January.
Shares of Macy's were up more than 2½ percent in early trading Tuesday. They jumped more than 7 percent in premarket trading immediately following the earnings announcement. Later, it opened was up more than 2 percent. Track the stock here.
Macy's CEO and Chairman Terry Lundgren attributed the stock bump to the fact that the company has communicated clearly to investors during a difficult stretch for the retailer.
"I've said I'll be here when there's bad news. I'll be here when there's good news," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."
"We've been very transparent about what's going on, and so I think what you're seeing is there's confidence in this organization that we've had a setback in 2015, we're setting it up for 2016, and the comeback is in front of us in '17 and '18," he said.
Lundgren said department stores continue to deal with protracted headwinds such as lackluster spending by tourists and the fact that consumers are focused on bigger ticket items such as cars and home repair goods.
Retailers also struggled through the warmest year on record, which caused consumers to delay winter wardrobe purchases, he said.
The company also said it started contacting potentially interested parties for partnerships or joint ventures for its flagship and mall-based properties.