CINCINNATI — Federated Department Stores Inc., operator of Macy's and Bloomingdale's department store chains, reported Wednesday its third-quarter profit climbed more than fivefold from last year, aided by a large gain from the sale of credit card accounts to the nation's biggest banking company. Federated's shares rose almost 8 percent.

Federated reported net income of $436 million, or $1.79 per share, for the three months ended Oct. 29 versus a year-ago profit of $74 million, or 42 cents per share.

The quarter's results included a $384 million gain on the sale of outstanding Federated and Visa credit card accounts to Citigroup Inc., and $39 million in costs stemming from Federated's $11.9 billion acquisition in August of rival May Department Stores Inc., parent company of Meier & Frank.

Stripping out the items, Federated reported profit from continuing operations of 36 cents per share.

Sales rose 64 percent to $5.79 billion from $3.53 billion last year. Sales and earnings figures include results from May for September and October.

Wall Street had forecast earnings of 23 cents per share, the average of 12 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on sales of $5.66 billion.

Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet told analysts on a conference call that sales from May stores in October were stronger than expected and helped increase profits for the quarter.

Federated sales totaled $2.1 billion in October, slightly above the high range of its forecast and nearly twice what Federated recorded in October 2004, she said.

The strongest sales in the third quarter were in handbags, fragrances, shoes, dresses and juniors, with the Home Stores division sales remaining the weakest, Hoguet said.

"Cold weather businesses were also weak due to the warm weather in the quarter, but they have picked up since the weather turned colder," said Hoguet.

Federated affirmed its earlier fourth-quarter view of earnings from continuing operations between $2 and $2.20 per share, or $2.35 to $2.45 per share excluding costs from the acquisition.

Analysts' average view for the current quarter is $2.44 per share.

The company, which announced earlier this year that it plans to sell its Bridal Group division, said it is treating sales and earnings from that division as a discontinued operation.

Sales in stores open at least one year — a key indicator of a retailer's strength — are expected to increase from 1 percent to 2 percent in the fourth quarter.

For the nine months ending Oct. 29, the company reported a 183 percent increase in earnings to $707 million, or $3.58 per share, compared with $249 million, or $1.38 per share, for 2004. Sales rose 23 percent to $13 billion from $10.6 billion.

Federated shares rose $4.94, or 7.7 percent, to close at $68.85 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $52.41 to $78.05.