Macy's Posts Smaller-than-Expected Loss

Department store operator Macy's posted a smaller-than-expected loss on Wednesday, and reiterated its forecast for the year.

Steven Senne

However, the company warned that if the deteriorating sales trends from the latter half of the third quarter continue through the fourth quarter, sales and earnings are expected to be toward the lower end of its earnings forecast.

In the latest period, Macy's swung to a loss of $44 million, or 10 cents a share, from earnings of $33 million, or 8 cents a share, a year earlier.

The loss in the latest period included a 2 cent consolidation cost. Excluding that charge, the company would have lost 8 cents a share.

Analysts, on average, were expecting a loss of 19 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales fell to $5.49 billion from $5.91 billion.

Looking ahead, Macy's expects to earn between $1.30 and $1.50 a share, excluding consolidation costs and asset impairment charge, for the year.

In the fourth quarter, earnings are expected to be between $1.10 and $1.30 a share, and same-store sales are projected to be down 1 percent to 6 percent.

(Watch the accompanying video for insight on how retail is faring and gidding deeper into Macy's results...)

The company also said it's cutting its 2009 capital spending to $550 million to $600 million, from a prior estimate of $1 billion.

In October, Macy's slashed its full-year forecast, warning that sales could fall sharply in the back half of the fiscal year as shoppers stick to buying necessities.

During the quarter, shoppers watched as a financial crisis swept across the globe, erasing trillions of dollars in wealth and raising the prospect of a deep global recession. Even wealthier shoppers pared spending, spooked by falling stock portfolios and declining real estate values.

-Reuters contributed to this story.