Federated Department Stores today reported total sales of $1.431bn for the five weeks ended April 7, 2001. This represents a decrease of 5.9 per cent from total sales of $1.52bn for the same period last year, reflecting in part a downsizing of Fingerhut. On a comp-store basis, Federated's March sales decreased 3.2 per cent.

For the year to date, Federated's sales totaled $2.579bn, a decrease of 5.6 per cent compared to sales of $2.732bn for the first nine weeks of last year. On a comp-store basis, Federated's year-to-date sales were down 2.5 per cent.

"We are very disappointed with March sales," said James M. Zimmerman, Federated's chairman and chief executive officer.

"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 of these recent trends, we are revising our 2001 comp store sales guidance to a zero to one per cent increase from our previous expectations of up two per cent for the year."