Cramer praises Macy's CEO Gennette for shaking up the embattled department store chain

  • CNBC's Jim Cramer says Macy's CEO Jeffrey Gennette "has a feel" and "has an eye" for department stores.
  • Macy's shares were sharply higher Wednesday after the retailer's quarterly earnings and revenue beat analysts expectations.

CNBC's Jim Cramer on Wednesday praised Macy's Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Gennette for the shakeup he brought to the department store chain since taking the helm 14 months ago.

"He has a feel, he has an eye, he's a merchant," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "The stores have a better look and feel. And people have to go to the stories to recognize what Gennette has done. It's not in the numbers. It's not in the four walls of the spreadsheet. It's about good-looking merchandise."

Gennette succeeded longtime CEO Terry Lundgren in March 2017. Gennette became chairman of the board as well in 2018 after Lundgren retired.

When Lundgren took over as CEO in February 2003, the stock was around $12.75 per share. The stock rose sharply until early-2007 but fell precipitously when the financial crisis took hold.

Since its 2009 low, Macy's shares traded at all-time highs of nearly $73 in July 2015. By the time Lundgren left as CEO, the stock was nearly cut in half as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers suffered as more and more consumers shopped online.

Macy's shares under Gennette continued to slide into the end of 2017 to about $17 at one stage. Since that November 2017 low, the stock gained nearly 70 percent as of Tuesday's close.

Macy's shares were up 10 percent Wednesday afternoon, after the retailer's quarterly earnings and revenue beat analysts expectations. Macy's reported a 4.2 increase in same-store sales for the quarter, and it raised its full-year outlook.

Gennette has been testing new initiatives such as The Market at Macy's, in which Macy's partners with brands to build pop-up shops within its stores.

Cramer, host of "Mad Money," has previously praised Gennette.

"To put it simply, the new CEO, Jeff Gennette ... is apparently a bit of a miracle worker," Cramer said in February. "He's made the stores look better, he's emphasized fashion, he's reinvented their loyalty program."

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