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May Department Stores


reported dismal third-quarter results Tuesday, weighed down by its acquisition of Marshall Field's and negative sales trends.

The retail-chain conglomerate said earnings sank 83% to $8 million, or 2 cents a share, for the quarter, down from $47 million, or 15 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Store divestitures cost the company $1 million, and early debt redemption costs reached $10 million, or 2 cents a share. Meanwhile, the integration of Marshall Field's cost 6 cents a share.

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"Third-quarter sales were good in selected merchandise categories, but overall performance was disappointing," said the company in a press release. "Dresses, coats, intimate apparel, children's and men's sportswear basics were among the weaker performers. The home sales trend continued to be difficult."

The results fell short of Wall Street's consensus estimates, calling for earnings of 8 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call. Its shares were recently down 18 cents, or 0.7%, to $26.86.

Quarterly sales rose 17% to $3.48 billion, but same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, dropped 3%, excluding the remaining 15 stores May previously announced it will divest.

During the third quarter, May opened a Foley's store in El Paso, Texas, a Hecht's store in Nashville, Tenn., a Meier & Frank store in Portland, Ore., and a Robinsons-May store in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Also, its bridal group opened nine David's Bridal stores and six After Hours Formalwear stores. The bridal group plans to open an additional 11 David's Bridal stores and seven After Hours Formalwear stores by year-end.

May did not update its earnings guidance for future quarters.