US department store retailer Macy's has widened its first quarter loss on lower sales and restructuring charges. 

The company today said net loss was $88m, compared to a loss of $59m a year ago. Results included charges of $138m related to division consolidations and localisation initiatives announced in February.

Sales in the first quarter totalled $5.199bn, down 9.5% from $5.747bn in the first 13 weeks of 2008. On a same-store basis Macy's first quarter sales were down 9.0%.

Online sales were up 16.2%.

"Our first quarter sales were consistent with our initial expectations, while earnings and cash flow performance were better than expected.," said Terry J Lundgren, Macy's chairman, president and CEO.

"We have entered the second quarter with our new organisation in place and expect to benefit from $400m of annual expense savings beginning in 2010.

"Meanwhile, we expect to see an improvement in sales trend from My Macy's beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009 and especially in spring 2010," Lundgren said.

The company maintained previous guidance for full-year sales to be down between 6-8%.

But it expect to exceed this guidance if the economy improves in the second half of the year.