May Department Stores

(MAY)

, the No. 2 operator of department stores in the U.S., reported earnings that matched Wall Street's expectations despite a 1.6% drop in profits.

For the first quarter ended April 29, net earnings fell to $120 million, or 35 cents a diluted share, from $122 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier, matching the consensus estimate of analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

.

Net retail sales rose to $3.04 billion from $2.94 billion a year ago.

The St. Louis-based company's cost of sales rose 2.6%, to $2.14 billion from $2.09 billion a year ago. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 1.4% year over year, to $638 million from $629 million.

May, which operates 422 department stores like

Lord & Taylor

and

Filene's

, ranks second behind

Federated Department Stores

(FD)

, which operates the

Bloomingdale's

and

Macy's

chains.

Shares of May were down 3/16, or 1%, at 28 3/16 in Monday morning trading. (May finished Monday regular trading up 3/8, or 1%, at 28 3/4.)