The May Department Stores results For the 13 weeks ended Nov. 1, 2003, earnings per share were 15 cents, compared with earnings per share of 5 cents in the similar period a year ago. Net earnings were $47 million, compared with net earnings of $16 million the prior year. Third quarter 2003 results include a charge of $6 million, or 1 cent per share, for asset impairments and other costs related to the previously announced divestiture of 34 stores. Excluding these costs, third quarter 2003 earnings were $51 million, or 16 cents per share. Third quarter 2002 earnings were $22 million, or 7 cents per share, excluding $9 million, or 2 cents per share, of division combination costs.

Third-quarter net sales were $2.98 billion, a 0.5% decrease, compared with $2.99 billion in 2002. Store-for-store sales decreased 2.4% for the quarter.

For the nine months ended Nov. 1, 2003, net loss per share was 1 cent, compared with earnings per share of 50 cents in 2002. Net earnings were $9 million versus $155 million a year ago. Results for the first nine months of 2003 include store divestiture costs of $324 million, or 70 cents per share, and a $31 million, or 10 cents per share, tax credit recorded following the resolution of various federal and state income tax issues. Excluding these items, 2003 net earnings for the nine months were $183 million, or 59 cents per share. Nine-month 2002 earnings were $223 million, or 72 cents per share, excluding division combination charges of $108 million, or 22 cents per share.

Net sales for the first nine months of 2003 were $8.85 billion, a 2.9% decrease, compared with $9.12 billion in the similar 2002 period. Store-for-store sales decreased 4.8% for the first nine months of fiscal 2003.

May opened four new department stores during the quarter: a Famous-Barr store in Columbia, Mo.; a Foley's store in Denton, Texas; a Hecht's store in Richmond, Va.; and a Kaufmann's store in Pittsburgh. The company opened a total of 10 new department stores in 2003. Year-to-date store openings for May's Bridal Group include 20 David's Bridal stores and three After Hours Formalwear stores. David's and After Hours plan to open 10 stores and 8 stores, respectively, by year-end.

During the 2003 third quarter, the company acquired two tuxedo rental and sales retailers — Desmonds Formalwear and Tyndall's Formal Wear — adding 71 stores to the After Hours unit of May's Bridal Group.

Subsequent to the third quarter, May entered into an asset purchase agreement with The Gingiss Group, Inc., a national tuxedo rental and sales chain, to purchase certain assets of the company including 125 stores and related leases, related trade names, and inventory. The agreement is pending completion of a sale auction and the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, where the Gingiss bankruptcy is pending.

At the end of the third quarter, May operated 450 department stores under the names of Lord & Taylor, Famous-Barr, Filene's, Foley's, Hecht's, Kaufmann's, L.S. Ayres, Meier & Frank, Robinsons-May, Strawbridge's, and The Jones Store, as well as 200 David's Bridal stores, 328 After Hours Formalwear stores, and 10 Priscilla of Boston stores. May operates in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.