Investors searching for any hints that a retail recovery is underway got a glimmer of hope Wednesday, with struggling department-store operator Macy’s inching back to normalcy.
The department store chain is still losing money as sales remain well below pre-pandemic levels, but CEO Jeff Gennette said demand is picking up across all of its brands. Macy's adjusted net loss of $251 million in the second quarter ended Aug. 1 beat the $538 million loss anticipated by analysts.
“Taken in isolation, today’s results from Macy’s would be disastrous,” Neil Saunders, an analyst at GlobalData Retail, said in a note. “However, after a calamitous first quarter, the numbers signal that trade at the iconic department store is starting to come back, even if progress is relatively slow.”
The results were read as a more upbeat sign for investors after the coronavirus pandemic prompted a significant pullback in spending on apparel and other discretionary goods earlier this year. More than two dozen consumer-facing companies have filed for bankruptcy in recent months, and many others are struggling to survive.
Macy’s shares soared as much as 8.3 percent Wednesday in New York. The stock had fallen 59 percent this year through Tuesday’s close.
Online vs. store
Performance picked up across each of Macy’s brands, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury. While net revenue fell 36 percent year-over-year, the drop was an improvement over the prior quarter. Comparable sales, a key measure of retailer performance, fell 35 percent, roughly in line with expectations.