By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer
A late Memorial Day holiday and higher gas prices didn't keep shoppers away from Federated's department stores last month, based on same-store sales performance.
Federated reported Thursday that May same-store sales rose 2.9 percent, handily beating Wall Street estimates.
Federated and most analysts had expected same-store sales to be flat in May, reflecting a shift of sales into June because of the later Memorial Day weekend.
The Cincinnati-based parent of Bloomingdale's and Lazarus-Macy's also raised its outlook for second-quarter same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year.
The nation's leading upscale department store retailer now expects same-stores sales to increase from 4 percent to 5 percent in the second quarter, compared to previous forecasts of 2 percent to 4 percent growth.
Total sales in May were $1.17 billion up 3.3 percent from the same period a year ago.
"The overall pace of retail sales continues to be positive," said Michael Niemira, chief economist for the International Council of Shopping Centers. "The better-than-expected sales performance experienced in May also underscores the limited impact that the record gasoline prices have had on consumers so far."
Federated expects June same-store sales to climb 4 percent to 5 percent.
So far this year, same-store sales have totaled $4.69 billion, up 5.9 percent from the first 17 weeks of 2003.
Other department stores and specialty apparel retailers with a major presence in Ohio saw same-store sales climb in May.
Columbus-based Limited Brands Inc. reported a same-store sales increase of 3 percent, while total sales climbed 3.8 percent to $641.4 million in May.
Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the parent of Dayton-based Elder-Beerman Stores Corp., said same-store sales in May increased 2.6 percent, while total sales were $95.1 million - up more than 86 percent from the same month a year ago.
New Albany, Ohio-based casual apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. reported a marginal 1 percent increase in same-store sales for May, though total sales climbed 20 percent to $111.5 million.
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