NEW YORK — Macy’s Inc., struggling with warm weather for much of the winter and shifting consumer spending patterns, saw net income fall 31.5 percent to $543 million in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, from $793 million in the year-ago period.
Sales in the quarter declined 5.2 percent to $8.87 billion, from $9.36 billion.
For the year, Macy’s net declined 30 percent to $1.07 billion, from $1.53 billion the year before. Revenues dropped 3.7 percent to $27.08 billion, from $28.1 billion the year before.
On a comparable basis, sales were down 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter and 2.5 percent for the year. Nor does Macy’s foresee any quick turnaround: The company said Tuesday that it expects comparable sales to decline by about 1 percent in fiscal 2016.
Total sales are expected to be down by about 2 percent in fiscal 2016, reflecting the 40 stores closed in 2015. Earnings of $3.80 to $3.90 per diluted share are expected in 2016.
“While 2015 was challenging, our sales trend improved in January as the weather turned colder in northern climate zones and Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s were well-stocked in coats, boots, sweaters, gloves, hats and other seasonal goods. As the year ended, our inventories were in good shape (up by 0.7 percent on a comp basis),” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s Inc. “We are encouraged by the way the business responded going into 2016, and we believe we are well-positioned to stabilize sales levels this year as we lay the foundation for enhanced shareholder value and sustained, long-term profitable growth. Given our determination to rise above our disappointing 2015 performance, I have reminded my team that our setback last year is a setup for our comeback.
“After the previous six consecutive years of cumulative success, 2015 reminded us that retailing is a dynamic business that requires continuous reinvention as the customer evolves. Today, we are examining every aspect of our business so we can grow profitable sales and re-attain our goal over time of an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rate as a percent of sales of 14 percent.”
On the positive side last year, Macy’s online business had double-digit growth; licensed departments were arranged for LensCrafters, Men’s Wearhouse and Best Buy to add new categories to the store assortment; Bluemercury was purchased; Macy’s Backstage off-price stores were launched and testing of online selling in China commenced through a joint venture.
But the retailer’s poor performance in 2015 has stirred calls for Macy’s to take more drastic action. The company is facing pressures from activist shareholders to monetize real estate to add value.