Macy’s Inc. reported net income of $131 million, or 30 cents a share, for the first
quarter ended April 30, nearly six times higher than the $23
million, or 5 cents, it reported a year earlier. Same-store sales rose 5.4
percent while overall sales rose 5.7
percent to $5.9 billion.

Gross margin slid 0.3 percentage points to 39.1 percent as Macy’s dealt with
rising cotton costs.

“We are building a culture of growth at Macy’s, Inc. Our performance cannot be attributed to a single factor, but rather to the coordinated execution of a series of complementary customer-centric strategies. In the first quarter, we benefited from strong topline sales, disciplined margin and expense management, improved credit performance and lower interest expense,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s, Inc. chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“Based on the strength, momentum and confidence in our business, we are doubling the dividend as a step in returning value directly to our shareholders,” Lundgren said. “Our confidence derives from our belief that we remain in the early innings of implementation of our current strategies – My Macy’s localization, enhanced sales training, exclusive and differentiated merchandise, and omnichannel integration that positions Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s to serve customer needs seamlessly in stores, online and via mobile technology. We also are developing and testing a wide range of new ideas and innovations that will allow us to evolve with our customers and continue to improve our performance.”

Looking ahead, Macy’s raised its guidance, saying it expects same-store
sales to rise 4 percent for the rest of the year, which would come to
4.3 percent for the whole year, including the first quarter. Macy’s had
forecast 3 percent at the start of 2011.

The retailer also raised its fiscal 2011 profit forecast by 15 cents per
share on both ends of the range and now expects to earn between $2.40
and $2.45.

Macy’s, which operates about 850 department stores under its own and the
Bloomingdale’s names, also doubled its quarterly dividend to 10 cents
per share.