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Macy's CEO: 'We are where we need to be' heading into the holidays

  • Macy's reaffirmed its full-year outlook.
  • The department store chain is betting on its off-price Backstage business and a revamped loyalty program to drive sales.
  • Macy's CEO says, "We are where we need to be" heading into the holidays.
Jeff Gennette, CEO, Macy's
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Jeff Gennette, CEO, Macy's

Macy's delivered a mixed bag of results on Thursday, but the department store chain reaffirmed its full-year outlook as it heads into the all-important holiday shopping season.

"When you think about the amount of sales and profit in the fourth quarter ... I think we are where we need to be," Chief Executive Jeff Gennette told CNBC. "The fourth quarter is where we really shine."

Though its same-store sales continue to fall, the Ohio-based department store chain is trying to turn things around, with efforts focused on expanding Macy's off-price nameplate — Macy's Backstage — and revamping the retailer's loyalty program.

The refreshed loyalty program, Star Rewards, launched Oct. 2. Macy's is hoping the offering will draw more shoppers through its doors.

Thus far, feedback on Star Rewards is "overwhelmingly positive," Gennette said. "Shoppers love free shipping and no exclusions on Star Rewards ... [and] we believe that will build in the fourth quarter."

Macy's store traffic was "softer" in August, Gennette said, but improved by October, "which is good, walking into the fourth quarter." A warmer-than-usual fall has hurt a slew of retailers this season, including Kohl's, with shoppers ringing up fewer coat purchases.

"When I think about the fourth quarter, we need [the] right products at the right values, and convenience for shoppers," Gennette said. "We are better this year than last year, particularly with fulfillment."

The holiday season, for Macy's, really kicks off with its annual Thanksgiving Day parade. The retailer could use a strong finish to the year.

Macy's shares are down more than 50 percent in 2017.