CINCINNATI (AP) -- Macy's Inc. said Thursday that its March revenue at stores open at least a year rose 7.3 percent, easily topping analysts' expectations.
The department store chain, which runs Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, also raised its forecast for the key revenue metric for the combined March and April period, citing its strong March results.
Its stock rose 41 cents to $41.31 in premarket trading.
Analysts predicted Macy's revenue at stores open at least a year would climb 4.8 percent in March, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.
This metric is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
Macy's, which includes online sales in its calculation of the key monthly revenue figure, said that while it benefited from an earlier Easter and moving a cosmetics event to March from April last year, its performance still topped its expectations.
"The early warm weather drew attention to our outstanding assortments of fresh spring goods, which were received enthusiastically by customers," Chairman, President and CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement.
Total revenue for the five weeks ended March 31 increased 6.9 percent to $2.36 billion. Online sales, which include those of macys.com and bloomingdales.com, jumped 39 percent for the month.
Year-to-date revenue at stores open at least a year gained 6.1 percent while total revenue climbed 6.3 percent to $4.22 billion and online sales rose 35.6 percent.
Macy's said it now expects revenue at stores open at least a year to rise 4.3 percent to 4.5 percent for the March-April period. Its previous guidance called for a 3 percent to 3.5 percent increase.
Macy's said the new outlook takes into account the expectation that revenue at stores open at least a year will climb 1 percent to 1.3 percent in April. The retailer said April's results are likely going to be weaker than March's because of the shift in the Easter holiday, which led people to shop in March this year. The shift of the cosmetics event to March from April and a Mother's Day that is later in May are also expected to impact results.
Macy's, which has corporate offices in New York and Cincinnati, has about 840 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.