Department store group Federated Department Stores has reported a more than fivefold jump in third-quarter profit, boosted by the purchase of May Department Stores and the sale of credit card assets.

Third-quarter earnings were $1.78 per share compared with 42 cents per share in the same period last year.

Sales in the third quarter totalled $5.8 billion, an increase of 64.1 per cent compared to sales of $3.5bn in the same period last year. On a same-store basis, Federated's third-quarter sales were up 0.6 per cent.

Federated's sales and earnings for September and October 2005 include results of The May Department Stores Company, which was acquired on 30August this year.

For the first three quarters of 2005, Federated reported earnings from continuing operations of $3.57 per share, compared to $1.38 in the same period of 2004.

For the year to date, Federated's sales totalled $13.0 billion, an increase of 22.5 percent from sales of $10.7bn in the same period last year. On a same-store basis, Federated's sales for the first 39 weeks of 2005 were up 1.4 percent.

Terry Lundgren, Federated's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the company was pleased with its third-quarter and year-to-date earnings performance, which was achieved in spite of a number of potentially distracting events, including major hurricanes and the initial stages of merger integration with May Company.

Federated had 2004 sales of more than $15.6bn. With the addition of the May Company's portfolio, Federated operates nearly 950 department stores and more than 700 bridal and formalwear stores in the US, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.