June 6, 2017 / 5:06 PM / 2 months ago

Macy's warns on gross margin outlook, shares tumble

CHICAGO, June 6 (Reuters) - Macy's Inc could report a full-year gross margin below the department store chain's forecast in February, Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet said on Tuesday.

Hoguet's comments, made during an investor meeting, sent Macy's shares dropping as much as 7.5 percent to five-year lows, and triggered a slump in shares of other U.S. department store chains.

Competition from Amazon.com Inc and other online retailers is growing, forcing brick-and-mortar chains to close stores and cut costs.

Macy's full-year gross margin could be 60 to 80 basis points lower than in 2016, Hoguet said, and second-quarter gross margin would be down 100 basis points from the year-ago period.

The margin was 39.4 percent in the fiscal year ended Jan. 28, and 40.9 percent in the fiscal 2016 second quarter.

Macy's is "doing everything it can to be productive," Hoguet said, adding that she hoped cost reduction efforts would improve margins.

In May, Macy's blamed its lower first-quarter gross margin on higher-than-expected inventory levels at the end of 2016. (Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Richard Chang)

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