Macy's' (NYSE:M) Returns On Capital Not Reflecting Well On The Business

By
Simply Wall St
Published
October 15, 2021
NYSE:M
Source: Shutterstock

When it comes to investing, there are some useful financial metrics that can warn us when a business is potentially in trouble. Businesses in decline often have two underlying trends, firstly, a declining return on capital employed (ROCE) and a declining base of capital employed. This indicates the company is producing less profit from its investments and its total assets are decreasing. On that note, looking into Macy's (NYSE:M), we weren't too upbeat about how things were going.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. The formula for this calculation on Macy's is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.11 = US$1.3b ÷ (US$18b - US$6.7b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2021).

Therefore, Macy's has an ROCE of 11%. That's a relatively normal return on capital, and it's around the 13% generated by the Multiline Retail industry.

Check out our latest analysis for Macy's

roce
NYSE:M Return on Capital Employed October 16th 2021

In the above chart we have measured Macy's' prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Macy's.

The Trend Of ROCE

In terms of Macy's' historical ROCE movements, the trend doesn't inspire confidence. To be more specific, the ROCE was 15% five years ago, but since then it has dropped noticeably. Meanwhile, capital employed in the business has stayed roughly the flat over the period. Since returns are falling and the business has the same amount of assets employed, this can suggest it's a mature business that hasn't had much growth in the last five years. So because these trends aren't typically conducive to creating a multi-bagger, we wouldn't hold our breath on Macy's becoming one if things continue as they have.

The Key Takeaway

In the end, the trend of lower returns on the same amount of capital isn't typically an indication that we're looking at a growth stock. It should come as no surprise then that the stock has fallen 16% over the last five years, so it looks like investors are recognizing these changes. With underlying trends that aren't great in these areas, we'd consider looking elsewhere.

Macy's does have some risks, we noticed 5 warning signs (and 1 which is significant) we think you should know about.

While Macy's isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

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