updated 2/21/2006 8:57:10 AM ET 2006-02-21T13:57:10

Federated Department Stores Inc. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter net income rose 59 percent from last year, aided by the acquisition of former rival May Department Stores Co. The department-store giant also backed its full-year financial forecast.

For the quarter ended Jan. 28, the parent of Macy's and Bloomingdale's reported net income of $699 million, compared with $440 million in the year-ago period. Per-share earnings fell to $2.52 from $2.55, reflecting a hefty increase in the company's share count.

Stripping out costs related to the May Co. acquisition totaling $82 million, or 29 cents per share, Federated reported earnings from continuing operations of $2.74 per share. Revenue totaled $9.57 billion, up from $5.12 billion a year ago.

Wall Street had forecast a profit of $2.62 per share, the average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on projected sales of $9.42 million.

Sales in stores open at least one year — a closely watched performance gauge called same-store sales — rose 1.1 percent.

For fiscal 2007, Federated projected earnings from continuing operations of $3.45 to $3.70 per share, excluding May acquisition costs and an asset sale gain. Same-store sales are expected to increase from 2 to 3 percent in 2007, and decline between half a percent to 1.5 percent in the current first quarter.

Analysts are forecasting year earnings of $3.93 per share.

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