Federated Department Stores Posts Profit As Sales Inch Up

Federated Department Stores Inc. (FD), parent of Macy's (search) and Bloomingdale's (search), posted higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on Wednesday and said it was encouraged by October sales, nudging its shares up.

The Cincinnati-based department store operator said it earned $74 million, or 42 cents per share, for the third quarter ended Oct. 30, compared with $67 million, or 36 cents per share, for the same period a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 39 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates, while Federated recently raised its third-quarter forecast to 38 cents to 40 cents a share.

Its share price rose 1.02 percent, or 52 cents, to $54.32 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Federated tends to draw wealthier customers who are less sensitive to steep gasoline prices.

The company said quarterly sales inched up 0.2 percent to $3.49 billion, while sales at stores open at least a year — a key retail measure known as same-store sales — also rose slightly, by 0.4 percent.

"The stronger trend we saw in October in markets across the country was encouraging," Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said in a statement.

Federated reaffirmed its expectations for the fourth quarter when it anticipates earnings of $2.45 to $2.55 a share and same-store sales rising between 1.5 percent and 3 percent.

Analysts on average expect Federated to post earnings of $2.49 cents a share in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company expects same-store sales in November to be flat or up to 2 percent higher, while December should benefit from having two extra pre-Christmas shopping days this year, helping drive same-stores sales up between 1 percent and 3 percent.