I try with every fiber of my being to avoid shopping anywhere but sporting-goods stores, bicycle shops, and boat retailers. As such, I'll do my penance by telling you about the solid results Federated Department Stores (NYSE:FD) reported Tuesday.

This will likely be the company's final report under the Federated banner. On June 1 of this year, shareholders willing, the company will become the Macy's Group, reflecting the name of its most active brand. The company also operates the Bloomingdale's group of stores.

For the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, net income increased to $733 million, or $1.40 per share, versus $699 million, or $1.26 a share, a year ago. Income from continuing operations was $1.45 per share for the quarter, versus $1.22 per share a year ago. The latest quarter included one more week than its predecessor.

And as the company noted, excluding both integration costs and inventory valuation adjustments of $177 million ($110 million, or $0.21 per share, after tax) related to the 2005 acquisition of May Company, Federated/Macy's fourth-quarter diluted per-share earnings were $1.66. Amusingly, management congratulated itself in the company's earnings release for having exceeded (its own) guidance of $1.55 to $1.60 per share, issued less than three weeks ago. Earnings for the most recent quarter also included a gain of about $54 million ($34 million, or $0.06 per share, after tax) related to a previously announced debt tender offer.

Federated's sales in the 14-week 2006 fourth quarter totaled $9.16 billion, down 4.3% from $9.57 billion in last year's13-week quarter. Closing 80 stores over the past year contributed to the decline. On a 13-week comparable same-store basis, the company's fourth-quarter sales rose 6.1%.

Looking ahead in 2007, management forecasts that same-store sales will increase in the 2% to 3.5% range, resulting in sales of $27.1 billion to $27.6 billion. The company posted $26.98 billion in 2006 revenue, and $22.39 billion for 2005. For the full year, management's revenues guidance likely would result in per-share earnings of $2.45 to $2.60. These figures exclude anticipated merger integration costs of $100 million to $125 million.

In addition to its earnings results and its anticipated name change, Federated announced that its board has authorized a $4 billion increase in its stock buyback program. At the current price, that amount would result in the repurchase of approximately 18% of the company's stock.

Federated, which competes with the likes of Kohl's (NYSE:KSS), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), and Dillard's (NYSE:DDS), has seen its share price increase in value about 22% over the past year. While its shares declined nearly 2% on Tuesday, I would suggest that Fools not place too much stock in Tuesday's price trends. Rather, I'd urge my Foolish friends to watch this company carefully, given the changes being made in it, along with its active buyback program.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He welcomes your comments or questions. The Fool has a disclosure policy.