In the absence of sales growth, Macy’s Inc. is preparing some other goodies to try to keep shareholders happy.
The company, which recently projected a 2 percent drop in sales this year, said it would boost its share repurchase program by $1.5 billion and also increase its July dividend by 5 percent.
Dividends put money into shareholders’ pockets and share repurchases concentrate their holdings and strengthen earnings per share, but neither do anything to improve the company operationally or help it serve customers.
“Our company continues to generate significant cash flow,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer. “We are committed to enhancing shareholder value, in part, through dividends and share repurchases while simultaneously returning our leverage ratio to within our targeted range of 2.5 to 2.8.”
All told, Macy’s has about $2 billion earmarked for stock repurchases. Since August 2011, it has bought back roughly 152.2 million shares for about $7.3 billion.
The company will pay its regular quarterly dividend of 36 cents a share on April 1 and raise the payout to 37.75 cents for the July 1 dividend.
“The July dividend will be the sixth increase in the past five years and represents a more than sevenfold increase from 5 cents per share in 2009,” Macy’s said.
Macy’s has come under increasing pressure from investors, including activists that have nudged it to monetize its real estate or who see a possible takeover of the company.