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updated: 4/27/2010 11:04 AM

Macy's raises full-year profit forecast

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CINCINNATI -- Macy's Inc. boosted its earnings outlook on Tuesday, as the department store chain now expects better sales at stores open at least a year.

Investors may have been betting on even better results, though. They sent shares down 43 cents to $24.42.

Macy's predicts a profit between $1.75 and $1.80 for fiscal 2010, which is higher than previous guidance for earnings between $1.55 and $1.60 per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, whose estimates typically remove one-time items, expect a profit of $1.80 per share.

Macy's also lifted its outlook for 2010 sales at stores open at least a year. The retailer initially forecast those sales would climb 1 percent to 2 percent, but now anticipates a 3 percent to 3.5 percent increase.

That figure is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it measures the results at existing stores rather than newly opened ones.

For the first quarter, Macy's sees approximately break-even earnings, which includes $27 million in premium and fees related to the repurchase of debt. The retailer maintained that sales at stores open at least a year will be up about 5 percent.

Macy's will report its first-quarter results May 12.