Dial 'M' for Macy's Inc stock

Shares of Federated Department Stores to begin trading under new symbol in June if shareholders approve company's name change.

By Rob Kelley, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Federated Department Stores, the owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, announced Wednesday that it plans to officially change its ticker symbol to "M" on the New York Stock Exchange.

The change is contingent on shareholder approval of the company changing its name to Macy's at Federated's Annual Meeting in May.

Because the single-letter "M" is available, the company's board will ask shareholders to rename the company to "Macy's, Inc." rather than "Macy's Group, Inc." as previously discussed.

"Changing the parent company name to Macy's, Inc., while trading our shares under the 'M' ticker symbol, will make it simple and clear for all investors to understand we are a brand-driven and consumer-oriented company," said Terry J. Lundgren, Federated's CEO, in a statement.

"Macy's represents about 90 percent of the revenue of our corporation, and this is another important opportunity to reinforce the recent expansion of the Macy's brand," he added.

Federated's shares have traded under the ticker symbol "FD" since 1992.

"Macy's is a marquee name and brand of great distinction, so the letter 'M' is a fitting ticker symbol as the company changes its corporate name," said John Thain, chief executive officer, NYSE Group, in a statement.

There was talk on Wall Street that the symbol "M" was being saved for the occasion when Microsoft (Charts) might make the switch to the New York Stock Exchange from Nasdaq.

A spokesman for the NYSE said the exchange had no comment on the speculation.

Federated is one of the nation's largest retailers with fiscal 2006 sales of $27 billion, and more than 850 department stores in 45 states.

Shares of Federated (down $0.59 to $45.63, Charts) fell 1.6 percent in early Wednesday trade after closing Tuesday at $46.23 on the New York Stock Exchange. Federated has outpaced rival J.C. Penney (Charts) over the last six months, gaining 19 percent versus J.C. Penney's 5 percent gain.

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