Shares of Macy’s Inc. slid as much as 8% in after-hours trading on Friday after the department-store chain gave a more downbeat forecast on its fourth-quarter sales, with management citing big “lulls” in the holiday-shopping season and saying customers would likely feel the squeeze from inflation into next year. The chain issued the sales and profit figures as many companies prepare to report fourth-quarter earnings, and as Wall Street zeroes in on consumer behavior during the key holiday shopping season. Investors have soured on many retail stocks amid worries rising prices would dampen leisure spending and spending on typical holiday gifts like clothing and electronics.
executives said they now expected fourth-quarter sales to land within the “low-end to mid-point” of prior expectations for between $8.161 billion to $8.401 billion. They said they expected adjusted earnings per share to be within the company’s previously forecast range of $1.47 to $1.67. Analysts polled by FactSet expect adjusted earnings per share of $1.61 on sales of $8.301 billion for the quarter. “Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales were in line with our expectations, while the week leading up to and following Christmas were ahead,” Macy’s Chief Executive Jeff Gennette said in a statement. “However, the lulls of the non-peak holiday weeks were deeper than anticipated.” “Based on current macro-economic indicators and our proprietary credit card data,” he continued, “we believe the consumer will contin …