Federated Department Stores ( FD) reported weaker-than-expected same-store sales for March, forcing the company to lower its comparable sales guidance for the rest of the fiscal year. The department store owner said same-store sales fell 3.2% for the month. According to Thomson Financial/First Call, analysts were expecting a decrease of 1.4%. Total sales for the five weeks ended April 7 fell 5.9% to $1.43 billion from $1.52 billion in the same period last year. Federated, which operates several chains, including Bloomingdale's and Macy's, said "we are very disappointed with March sales. Weather was a factor in many parts of the country, but we think deteriorating consumer confidence in the wake of current economic uncertainty is also having a significant impact on our sales." As a result, the company lowered its same-store sales guidance for 2001. The company now expects comp sales to stay flat or increase up to 1%, after previously expecting growth of 2%. Shares of Federated fell $2.60, or 6.2%, or $39.05 in recent New York Stock Exchange trading.