January Sales Rise 5.1% at Federated

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Federated Department Stores Inc., Cincinnati, got the new year off to a good start yesterday when it posted total sales of $814 million for the four-week period ended Jan. 31, an increase of 5.1 percent over the same period a year ago.


On a same-store basis, January sales increased 5.5 percent.


For the fourth quarter, sales reached $5.05 billion, up 0.7 percent from the same period last year. On a same-store basis, fourth-quarter sales were up 1.4 percent.


Sales for fiscal 2003, however, were $15.27 billion, down 1.1 percent from the prior year. On a same-store basis, annual sales fell 0.9 percent.


In other news, the company announced the creation of a centralized organization to be responsible for overall strategy, merchandising and marketing of home-related categories of business in its stores that carry the Macy's nameplate.


Also affected by the change in home store operations are Rich's-Macy's, Lazarus-Macy's, Goldsmith's-Macy's, Bon-Macy's and Burdines-Macy's stores. Bloomingdale's is unaffected. The new Macy's Home Store organization will be headquartered in New York.


The organizational structure for the new division will be formulated in the next several months, including staffing and how responsibilities will be divided between the company's Macy's-named divisions and the new central organization. In 2003, home categories -- including textiles, tabletop, housewares and furniture -- represented about $2.6 billion in annual sales for Federated, or 19 percent of total sales in the Macy's-named divisions.


The company expects to realize expense reductions.


Positions affected by the move include general, regional and divisional merchandise managers; planning executives and assistants; buyers, assistant buyers and clericals. In the next several months, determinations will be made regarding the number of positions that will be retained and which will become part of the new centralized Macy's Home Store organization.


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