Macy's May sales beat estimates

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Department store operator Macy's Inc <M.N> posted a 7.4 percent increase in May at stores open at least a year, beating analysts expectations and sending its shares up more than 2 percent.

Analysts had expected the operator of Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores to post a 5.6 percent increase.

Macy's in May said that it expected sales and profits to continue to rise for the year, reflecting the improving prospects of its core middle-class shoppers.

Many big U.S. retailers report May sales on Thursday, and analysts were concerned that rising gasoline prices would cut into the numbers.

On Wednesday, Macy's said it expects same-store sales to rise 5 percent for the entire second quarter, up from its previous forecast of a 4 percent increase. Macy's shares traded at $29.65 in premarket dealings on Wednesday, up from Tuesday's New York Stock Exchange close of $28.88.

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)