Cincinatti-based Macy's is the U.S.'s second largest department store. Sales were up more than 3 percent to $6.28 billion from the previous year. This came as a surprise because analysts were concerned about consumer spending in an uncertain economy. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg projected sales of $6.19 billion.
Profits rose 22 percent to $177, or 47 cents per share, from $145 million, or 36 center per share a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting closer to 39 cents per share.
Fellow retailers Wal-Mart, Nordstrom and Kohls report earnings this week. JC Penney, which has struggled this past year, reports its earnings next week. But Macy's is slightly higher end, and reports that consumers have been moving from apparel purchases to higher ticket items. Bloomingdale's, which is part of Macy's chain, also saw this trend.
"Our success in the fourth quarter will be driven by a wide selection of exclusive products from the most-wanted brands and designers," said Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren in a release. "We will bring them to our customers, whether they shop in our stores, online, via mobile -- or all three."
Wal-Mart and Target consumers generally exhibit more discretion with disposable income. But gas prices are on the decline, so consumers might have more to spend this holiday. The National Retail Federation reported that the holiday season accounts for approximately 40 percent of yearly sales.
Macy's shares rose 8.1 percent to $50.08 before market open.