While we experienced some softness in sales early in October given the unseasonably warm weather, we ended the month with a strong trend going into the holiday selling season. Customers have reacted positively to the launch of our unique holiday gift-giving merchandise and newness in fashion. We also launched our latest exclusive brand relationship with Kenneth Cole Reaction men's sportswear, now sold only at Macy's. Overall, we are pleased with our sales performance in the third quarter and the continued results of major strategies including our My Macy's localization initiative. Bloomingdale's sales continued to be strong in October and the third quarter," said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy's, Inc. "Our repurchase of another $500 Breitling Crosswind Automatic Calendar BT-47 of debt in the third quarter reflects our strong cash position, as well as our confidence about the strength of the business going forward."
For the third quarter of 2010, the company's total sales were $5.624 billion, an increase of 6.6 percent compared with total sales of $5.277 billion in the same 13-week period last year. On a same-store basis, Macy's, Inc.'s third-quarter sales were up 3.9 percent.
For the year to date, Macy's, Inc. sales totaled $16.735 billion, up 7.0 percent from total sales of $15.640 billion in the first 39 weeks of 2009. On a same-store basis, Macy's, Inc.'s year-to-date sales were up 4.7 percent.
Online sales were up 19.7 percent in October, 24.0 percent in the third quarter and 28.5 percent in 2010 year-to-date. Online sales positively affected the company's same-store sales by 0.8 percentage points in the third quarter and 0.7 percentage points in the year to date. Online sales are included in the same-store sales Breitling Crosswind Quartz Chronometer BT-167 for Macy's, Inc.
The company's guidance is for same-store sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 to be up 3 percent to 4 percent. This translates to same-store sales for the second half of 2010 to be up 3.3 percent to 4 percent, compared with previous guidance (provided in August 2010) of up 3 percent to 3.5 percent.
Based on stronger sales expectations, Macy's, Inc. is increasing its earnings guidance for the Breitling Flying B Automatic BT-117 half of 2010 to $1.50 to $1.55 per diluted share, excluding expenses associated with the early retirement of debt in the third quarter. This compares with previous guidance (provided in August 2010) of $1.45 to $1.50 per diluted share for the second half of 2010.
The company today also reported it used excess cash to repurchase $500 million face value of Senior Notes and Debentures in the third quarter. The Breitling for Bentley Automatic BT-35, which were made in the open market, included debt with maturity dates from 2011 through 2016.
Total cost of the repurchases was approximately $541 million, including expenses related to the transactions. As a result of this repurchase, Macy's, Inc. has booked approximately $39 million (approximately $24 million after tax; 6 cents per diluted share) of expense associated with the early retirement of debt in the third quarter of 2010 in interest expense. This will be partially offset by approximately $7 million in reduced net interest expense in the fourth quarter of 2010. In addition, the company expects net interest expense to be reduced by approximately $26 million in fiscal 2011 as a result of repurchases made in the third quarter.
In total, the company has reduced its debt by Breitling for Bentley Automatic BT-38 than $1.2 billion in fiscal 2010. The reduction includes $500 million in debt repurchased in each of the first and third quarters, as well as $150 million in Senior Debentures retired at maturity on November 1, and $76 million in Senior Notes retired at maturity on June 1.
Macy's, Inc. is scheduled to report its third quarter earnings on Wednesday, Nov. 10, and will webcast a call with financial analysts and investors that day at 10:30 a.m.