The company sliced away at expenses in the quarter, cutting selling, general and administrative expenses by 2.5 percent and net interest expense by 4.2 percent. Cost of goods sold also fell by 2.2 percent. These declines helped offset a 3.9 percent drop in net sales, which finished the third quarter at $5.3 billion.
According to a Macy’s statement, the retailer exceeded its quarterly expectations for same-store sales (down 3.6 percent), gross margin, earnings and cash flow.
“Given the difficult economic climate, we had an excellent quarter,” said Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our business improved progressively each month during the period and we are entering the holiday selling season confident in our locally focused organizational structure and the high caliber of our talent.”
Macy’s also said it expects same-store sales to be off from 1 percent to 2 percent in the fourth quarter—better than its previous guidance, which forecasted a 5 percent to 6 percent drop in comparable-store sales for the quarter. For the full year, same-stores sales are expected to be down from 5.4 percent to 5.7 percent.