Macy’s on Wednesday announced that Karen Hoguet, who has been chief financial officer since 1997, has decided to retire at the end of the company’s fiscal year in February 2019.
An external search is underway for Hoguet’s replacement and the company anticipates a well-ordered transition, according to a company press release.
Hoguet began her career at Federated Department Stores in 1982. She will continue as CFO until her successor is appointed, and will then remain in an advisory role during a transition period until Feb. 2, 2019.
Hoguet has spent 36 years with Macy’s, 20 as its CFO, and as CEO Jeff Gennette said on Wednesday, she "has had a voice in almost every major decision at Macy’s and its predecessor Federated Department Stores" for three decades.
"She knows our business inside and out and, through good times and bad, Karen has been a steady and strategic hand in the CFO’s seat," he said in a statement.
Arguably, those bad times have been quite recent, as Macy’s has undertaken a strategic diminishment of its physical footprint, and is now in the process of shuttering 100 locations nationwide. That sprung from a move in the late 1990s to gobble up a series of local and regional department stores across the country. In the end, that served to dilute those stores’ locally based personalization and overwhelm Macy’s portfolio with a host of under-performing locations.
As specialty stores in electronics, home goods and beauty helped decimate those department store stalwarts, Macy's, and its rivals, then turned to heavy promotions and cost-cutting to bring in apparel shoppers.
The company, already flush with cash compared to many rivals, is working to correct that, though, and has been able to capitalize on its real estate investments. "Finances are in a sound state, with asset and property sales … helping to provide capital for investment," GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders said in an earlier email to Retail Dive, noting how that enables Macy’s to make the kind of investments required to beef up store traffic and sales. Macy's has reignited its own beauty play with Bluemercury specialty shops of its own, invested in e-commerce, revamped footwear, launched an off-price unit and upgraded private apparel labels.
The company repaid almost $1 billion in debt repaid in 2017, according to Moody’s Investors Service Vice President & Department Store Analyst Christina Boni. "Inventories remain lean with comp inventories down 3.5% which supported an improvement in merchandise margins in the fourth quarter as comp stores increased 1.4%," she said in an earlier email to Retail Dive. "Macy's remains poised to make continued progress on its plans in 2018 as its inventories remain well positioned."