NEW YORK (AP) — Macy's Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit rose 11 percent, but the department store chain suffered a sales shortfall because a string of winter storms chilled business in January.
The results, released Tuesday, come on the heels of a solid but fiercely competitive holiday shopping season for the Cincinnati-based company, which also operates Bloomingdale's stores. The chain has been a standout among its peers throughout the economic recovery as it has benefited from its moves to tailor merchandise to local markets.
But like other retailers, severe winter storms have caused Macy's to close stores and kept shoppers at home. At one time during January, 244 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, or about 30 percent of the company's total, were shut down because of the weather. Business remained sluggish until Valentine's Day.
The company stuck with its annual profit and sales forecast on hopes that business will bounce back in the spring. Its stock rose 5 percent in late morning trading.
"Once warm spring weather arrives and our full assortment of fresh spring merchandise is in place, we believe customers will return to a more normalized pattern of shopping," Terry Lundgren, Macy's chairman, CEO and president, said in a statement.
Like other retailers, Macy's is also dealing with cautious shoppers and trying to respond to shoppers' shift toward buying online. For example, the retailer is rolling out a service that allows shoppers to buy online and pick up the items at a store.
Last month, the company announced it was cutting jobs as part of a reorganization to sustain profitability. But its workforce will remain level at about 175,000 as the company adds new positions in areas related to online shopping.
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