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3Q earnings knocked down, but May reaches up

ST. LOUIS — The May Department Store Company is positioning itself this holiday season as a luxury gift shop, focusing on higher-end products that center on fashion, not functionality, the company reported during its third quarter conference call today.

Earlier in the day, the company posted a third-quarter net income of $8 million, off 83 percent from third-quarter earnings from last year due to the integration of the Marshall Field’s department stores and costs from store divestitures. Sales rose 17 percent to nearly $3.5 billion, but comps declined by more than 3 percent.

Apparel and home-furnishings items registered poor sales performances.

Going into the holiday selling season, the company will emphasize the higher end, said William McNamara, vice chairman.

Being targeted for the luxe treatment: down comforters, high-tech electronics, personal spa-related and massage products, layering apparel goods and women’s accessories like brooches and diamond jewelry.

“Our gift assortment has been carefully edited to simplify shopping and offer authoritative selections in gift to our shoppers,” McNamara said.

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