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Fourth Quarter Gives Macy's a Lift

Macy's Inc. executives touted the impact of the My Macy's localization effort on merchandising and said the home department was among the best-performing categories during the fourth quarter.

Chief financial officer Karen Hoguet singled out mattresses, luggage, housewares and home textiles as leaders in the home department during a period that produced a healthy profit overall.

Consolidated gross margin during the quarter was 41.7%, up 240 basis points from the year-ago period and 10 basis points higher than in the fourth quarter of 2007, she said during the retailer's quarterly conference call last week.

“Bloomingdale's had a terrific fourth quarter with a significant improvement in sales,” she added.

With the My Macy's initiative fully rolled out, the company has put in place a system that gives greater attention to detail at the stores level, said Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo.

“We now have people living in these 69 distrcits. Many of them are former buyers, former planners,” he said.

In addition to merchandise tweaks, they are also helping Macy's plan targeted selling events around local holidays and celebrations, he added. Among the examples: first birthday celebrations in Hawaii, the recent Super Bowl in New Orleans, and the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

For the quarter ended, earnings per share were $1.10 compared to a loss of $11.33 in the year-ago period. Net income was $466 million compard to a year-ago loss of $4.8 billion.

Sales dipped 1.1% to $7.8 billion, and comps fell 0.8%. Online sales were up 26.6%.

For the year, EPS was 83 cents compared to a loss of $11.40 last year. Net income was $350 million vs. a loss of $4.8 billion a year ago.

Annual sales dropped 5.6% to $23.5 billion, while comps fell 5.3%.

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