Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc., a Joppa-based clothing-store chain, reported yesterday that its first-quarter earnings dropped 18.5 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago, as a weak economy and back-to-basics fashion trends ate into sales.
Budd Bugatch, institutional research director at Ferris, Baker Watts in Baltimore, said Merry-Go-Round's earnings-per-share of 13 cents were "better than what we were looking for," even though they were down from 17 cents last year. Mr. Bugatch said he had been projecting 10 cents a share for the quarter that ended May 2.
The company's sales increased 9 percent, to $171.4 million, compared with last year's first quarter, as the chain grew from 749 to 836 stores. However, comparable-store sales, the most widely watched gauge of a retailer's performance, declined 5 percent.