Sears posted a whopping 126 percent increase in fourth-quarter net income, to $430 million, while Target’s net profit improved by 54 percent to 936 million. Both Home Depot and Macy’s transformed red numbers into black in their fourth quarter, with Home Depot registering $342 million in net income and Macy’s reporting a net profit of $466 million.
The improvement in these retailers’ bottom lines had little to do with sales; only Target among these four said its net sales had increased in the quarter.
The four companies tightened their controls on expenses and benefited from the absence of one-time charges from last year’s fourth quarter. In company statements announcing the results, their chief executives cited factors such as improved gross margins; watchful approaches to selling, general and administrative expenses.