Federated: Home still hurting

CINCINNATI, Ohio --Even though its new May Department Stores business isn't performing as well as expected -- and is forecast to come up short through the all-important Christmas season -- Federated Department Stores said its core business is still on track and reassured analysts and investors that operating profits are still on target, even on a somewhat lower level of sales.

 

And it's not just May that isn't living up to expectations -- the home business, chain-wide, was singled out as a significant weak spot by Karen Hogue, Federated executive vice president and chief financial officer, during a conference call with investors.

"The area of weakness that we think will continue as we go through October and the fourth quarter is home, which has continued to be weak," said Hogue. "By the way, it's weak everywhere." And, she noted, "It's not just a function of the centralization. Unfortunately, the centralization hasn't given us the benefits that we had expected yet. But we don't think it's hurt the business at all. The home business, she said, is weak at Bloomingdale's and Macy's both, and "much weaker at the May division."

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