For the fiscal first quarter, Federated Department Stores today reported diluted earnings per share of 42 cents, excluding restructuring charges relating to the closing of its Stern's department store division. This compares to diluted earnings per share of 41 cents in the same period last year.

James M. Zimmerman, Federated's chairman and chief executive officer, said that while the company was pleased with this total result, the performance of its department store segment in the period was disappointing.

"We think a number of factors contributed to the performance of our department stores, including weak sales and high markdowns, compounded by escalating energy costs and electricity shortages in California," Zimmerman said.

"We took steps, however, to adjust our inventory and receipt plans after lowering our annual comp-store sales forecast in late March (from up two per cent to flat-up one per cent), and we have reduced our capital expense plan for the year from $850m to $775m. As a result, we continue to expect to meet our 2001 earnings forecast of $4.00 to $4.25 a share."