Federated's Q3 Sales Inch Up From 2002

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Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, reported yesterday that total sales of $3.49 billion for the third quarter were up 0.2 percent from sales of $3.48 billion in the same period last year.

On a same-store basis, Federated's third-quarter sales rose 0.3 percent.

For the year to date, sales totaled $10.21 billion, a drop of 2 percent from sales of $10.42 billion in the same period last year. On a same-store basis, sales for the first 39 weeks of 2003 were down 2 percent.

In other news, net sales at Spiegel Inc. were $348.8 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 27, a drop of 26 percent from $472.3 million in last year's third quarter, according to the company's Form 8-K filed yesterday.

Factors fueling the decrease included a 43 percent drop in catalog net sales, a 15 percent decline in retail net sales and an 18 percent fall in e-commerce net sales, the company said.

Another factor was the cancellation in March of Spiegel's private-label credit cards issued by First Consumers National Bank to customers of Eddie Bauer, Newport News and Spiegel Catalog. In April, the company announced an agreement with Alliance Data Systems to establish a new private-label credit card program.

According to the 8-K, less than 15 percent of net sales in the third quarter were made with the new private-label cards. In contrast, Spiegel said that 34 percent of 2002 third-quarter net sales were made with the FCNB cards.

"The discontinuance of the charging privileges on the company's private label cards and FCNB MasterCard and Visa cards has had and will continue to have a substantial negative impact on the company's net sales," the 8-K report stated.

The company's operating loss was $27.8 million compared to $22.1 million in the 2002 Q3. But reorganization items related to Spiegel's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing added $74.3 million in debt, bringing the total net loss for the quarter to $103.9 million.

Also, Too Inc., New Albany, OH, said that for the third quarter ended Nov. 1 net sales totaled $148.9 million versus $164.6 million in the 2002 period. The company said the lower sales resulted mainly from the poor-performing back-to-school apparel assortment.


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