Federated Department Stores

reported a 23% drop in fourth-quarter profits as consumers spent less, but the parent company of Macy's and Bloomingdale's still beat analyst expectations and also raised its 2002 guidance.

Fourth-quarter earnings, before charges, dropped to $310 million, or $1.90 a share, from $400 million, or $2.23 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street had been expecting $1.86 a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Part of the decline is due to the disposal of the Fingerhut catalog unit, effective Jan. 16 of this year.

Sales for the quarter dropped to $5.13 billion from $5.6 billion last year, while same-store sales fell 6%.

For 2002, the company forecast improved earnings from continuing operations, expecting $3.30 to $3.55 a share for the year. The guidance is up from the company's January forecast of $3.25 to $3.50 a share.

Federated shares closed at $39.02 Monday before the announcement.