Retail

Macy's CEO says its robust sales gains aren't a 'short-term pop'

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Key Points
  • Macy's said Tuesday that the huge sales gains it posted in the first quarter aren't a fluke.
  • "We don't see this as a short-term pop," said CEO Jeff Gennette.
  • Macy's reported a surprise first-quarter profit and hiked its full-year outlook, too.
  • Categories including luggage, dresses, dressy sandals and tailored men's clothing are coming back strong, the department store chain said.

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Jeff Gennette, CEO of Macy's.
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Macy's said Tuesday that the huge sales gains it posted in the first quarter aren't a fluke.

"We don't see this as a short-term pop," Chief Executive Jeff Gennette said during an earnings conference call. "There are pent-up demand opportunities ... that give us confidence for accelerated profitable growth in 2021 and beyond."

Macy's sales in the latest quarter grew to $4.7 billion from $3 billion a year earlier, helping it to turn a surprise profit and prompting it to raise its forecast for the year.

The company is lapping a period when its department stores were forced shut due to lockdowns that were put in place to help curb the spread of Covid-19. Sales tumbled a year ago, as shoppers put spending on apparel, handbags and makeup on pause.

Many of those categories are now coming back strong, Gennette said.

"As the weather warms up, and vaccines are more readily available, customers are feeling increasingly confident to get dressed up and venture outside," Gennette said. "They're also starting to attend events again."

Sales of luggage have climbed, Gennette said, as people get ready to travel again. Proms and weddings are back on again, and sales of dresses are rising week by week. At Bloomingdale's, sales of dressy sandals are up year over year. And on the men's side, demand for tailored clothing is spiking, the company said.

But Gennette also explained that demand in many of the categories that were fueled by the pandemic hasn't slowed down, either. He cited home goods and pajamas as two examples of product categories that continue to grow.

Macy's shares closed Tuesday down less than 1%.

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