Macy’s Calls Jewelry a Bright Spot in Latest Quarter

Fine jewelry was among Macy’s top-performing merchandise categories in the last quarter, executives said during a conference call following the release of its fourth-quarter financial results.

According to a SeekingAlpha transcript, chief financial officer Karen M. Hoguet called jewelry among the department store’s best categories in the last quarter, along with fragrances, dresses, men’s tailored clothing, coats, children’s, shoes, and home textiles.

In 2015, Macy’s said it was piloting a new approach to jewelry that involved “strengthening selling skills, including changes needed to talent training and compensation…improved associate availability, more direct supervision, and a higher-quality product offering.”

That approach proved successful and has now been rolled out to the department store’s entire fleet of locations, said CEO Jeffrey “Jeff” Gennette during the conference call. But he said that he doesn’t expect continually rising comps in that area.

“Fine jewelry, which we were rolling out, is now fully there,” he said. “So we’re not going to see the same growth in that.”

Overall, the department store’s results beat expectations in its latest quarter.

Comps rose 1.3 percent in its latest quarter on an owned basis and 1.4 percent on a licensed basis. While that is not a large amount, this marks the first time Macy’s has posted positive comp growth in the last three years. It also surpassed analyst expectations, as they had predicted a 0.6 percent drop.

Overall sales increased 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter to $8.67 billion.

“The consumer is shopping and there’s a high level of optimism from our consumer,” Gennette said. “She’s out there. And it’s our opportunity to win her business and get share.”

But he added: “Today’s consumer is discerning, and they have many choices. We are committed to being competitive and winning her business.”

Even so, Macy’s will likely continue with its store-closing plans. Earlier this year, it announced plans to close 19 more stores.

(Image: Watercolors by Effy starfish ring with multicolored sapphires and diamonds in 14k gold; $3,600)

JCK News Director