The May Department Stores Company announced earnings per share, net earnings, and sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2000.For the 13 weeks ending October 28, 2000, diluted earnings per share were 27 cents. Earnings per share were 38 cents in the same quarter a year ago. Net earnings were $85m, compared with $138m the prior year. Third-quarter sales were $3.33bn, an increase of 5.0 per cent compared with $3.17bn in 1999. Comparable-store sales decreased 0.1 per cent for the quarter. As previously announced, May moved aggressively this quarter to clearexcess spring and summer apparel. The clearance of that inventory is complete and the company is well-positioned for the fourth quarter.For the nine months ending October 28, 2000, the company's diluted earnings per share were $1.03, compared with $1.15 per share in the similar 1999 period. Net earnings were $340m compared with $414m a year ago. Sales were $9.51bn compared with $9.17bn last year. Comparable-store sales decreased 0.3 per cent for the first nine months of fiscal 2000.Through the first nine months of fiscal 2000, May opened 21 of its23 department stores planned for the year. A new Lord & Taylor store in Pittsburgh opened in early November and Foley's new store at South Park Mall in San Antonio will open later this month. The May Department Stores Company operates 428 department stores and118 David's Bridal stores in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.