The May Department Stores net sales were $1.18 billion for the five-week period ended April 3, 2004, an 11.5% increase from $1.06 billion in the similar period last year. Store-for-store sales increased 10.1%. March store-for-store sales increased 10.9%, excluding the remaining 20 stores that May previously announced it will divest. Sales comparisons in March 2004 benefited from Easter occurring one week earlier this fiscal year and the related movement of a major sales promotion event from the first week of fiscal April 2003 to the last week of fiscal March 2004. The company anticipates its April sales performance will be adversely affected by this calendar shift.

Net sales for the first two months of fiscal 2004 were $2.06 billion, an 8.2% increase compared with $1.91 billion during the first two months of fiscal 2003.

  Net sales were as follows:

                 Fiscal     Fiscal     Percent      Store-for-Store Increase
  (dollars in     2004      2003      Increase         Actual    Adjusted *

  March        $ 1,181.0  $ 1,059.1      11.5%          10.1%      10.9%
  Year-to-date   2,061.3    1,905.2       8.2            6.7        7.5

  * Excludes the remaining 20 stores that May previously announced it will

Net sales include merchandise sales and lease department income. Store- for-store sales compare sales of stores open during both years beginning the first day a new store has prior-year sales and exclude sales of stores closed during both years.

Ladies' footwear, handbags, and accessories, led by shades of pink and bright colors, continued as standout performers in March. Jewelry and watches benefited from the emergence of new spring must-haves like chandelier earrings and pearl necklaces.

Tailored looks gained importance throughout apparel and shoes, reflecting the underlying upswing in dressier merchandise, as well as the earlier Easter timing. The customer responded to suits in both ladies' and men's. Men's suit separates in modern interpretations also performed well, while dress shirts, neckwear, and belts drove the pick-up in men's furnishings. Young men's sportswear, particularly street collections, experienced brisk selling.

Home decor and lifestyle merchandise for outdoors performed well. Luggage, small electrics, and portable electronics had solid performances in the home store as well.

During March, May opened a Hecht's store at Mayfaire Town Center in Wilmington, N.C. In addition, May's Bridal Group opened one After Hours Formalwear store.