has been one of the best-performing department store stocks, rising more than 48% since the start of the year. The company’s fiscal first-quarter report, due out in May, could extend that rally, Jefferies noted Thursday.
Shares of Macy’s (ticker: M) were up 2% to $17 in morning trading. The stock has soared more than 240% in the past 12 onths.
Analyst Stephanie Wissink reiterated a Buy rating and $20 price target, pointing out that the company has provided commentary about strong first-quarter sales fueled by stimulus checks, new customers, and returning members of its Star Rewards program.
Although other retailers are also enjoying these tailwinds, Wissink thinks Macy’s looks particularly well positioned to take advantage of a coming cycle of people once again attending dressier events and updating their denim wardrobes. The company’s denim is up 40% from the first quarter of 2019, she writes, and shifting silhouettes “could lead to a full wardrobe refresh and a multi-year driver for fashion retailers.”
That belief leads Wissink to raise her first-quarter comparable sales forecast to 50% from 41%, ahead of the 43% consensus estimate. She expects Macy’s to lose 40 cents a share, down from the 49 cents she previously expected and the average analyst estimate for 47 cents.
Traditionally, fall is more important than spring for fashion, but given evidence of a ramping recovery, Wissink thinks that Macy’s may be more confident in buying inventory for the second half of the year. Also, Chief Merchandising Officer Nata Dvir, who was appointed at the start of the year, should be able to make her mark by that key period, the analyst wrote. “Her background in beauty with a digital-first approach and developing a roster of indie brands points to a more brand-diversified approach.”
Those factors are key in winning over younger, more fashion-forward consumers, who will be the most willing to spend on fresh items as styles change.
Other analysts have also been bullish on the stock’s ongoing rally, and insiders have been buying up shares. That comes amid a shift in investor sentiment on department stores. While the pandemic was a brutal blow after years of shrinking market share, those that survived now look better positioned to compete in the new retail landscape.
Write to Teresa Rivas at [email protected]