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May Stores Post Mixed Results

The owner of Robinsons-May earns $101 million in the second quarter but sales fall 1.5%.

August 11, 2004|From Associated Press

May Department Stores Co., owner of Robinsons-May, saw its second-quarter results swing into a profit from a year earlier, though sales fell short of expectations.

The St. Louis-based company said Tuesday that it earned $101 million, or 33 cents a share, in the three months ended July 31. That contrasts with a loss of $110 million, or 39 cents, a year earlier.

The 2004 results include store divestiture costs of $15 million, or 3 cents a share, while the year-earlier figures reflected costs of $318 million, or 69 cents a share. The divestitures stemmed from May's July 2003 announcement that it was closing 34 stores, 32 of them Lord & Taylor stores.

Excluding those costs, second-quarter 2004 results were $110 million, or 36 cents a share.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected 35 cents a share.

Net sales were $2.96 billion, down 1.5% from a year earlier. Sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, declined 2.2%. Same-store sales are considered the best indicator of a retailer's health.

May executives cited strong showings in many categories but said sales of casual sandals, shorts and other seasonal lines lagged behind last year. Apparel clearance, which the company called a key sales driver for July, was less than expected. Sales were also weak for home furnishings.

In June, May purchased 62 Marshall Field's department stores from Target Corp. for $3.2 billion, giving May a total of 497 department stores. The company has opened one additional department store this year and plans seven other openings before the end of the year.

In addition to Robinsons-May and Marshall Field's, May operates stores under the names of Famous-Barr, Filene's, Foley's, Hecht's, Kaufmann's, Lord & Taylor, L.S. Ayres, Meier & Frank, Strawbridge's and the Jones Store.

May's shares rose $1, or 4%, to $25.90 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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