Hechinger gains after dreary May

July 08, 1994|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,Sun Staff Writer

Hechinger Co.'s sales improved last month after a disappointing May.

The Landover-based home improvement chain said sales rose by 21 percent overall compared with June 1993, and increased by 4 percent in stores open for at least a year.

That was far better than the May results, when the home-center company's management blamed poor weather for a 3 percent decline in same-store sales.

Still, one Wall Street analyst said the results announced yesterday "were a little disappointing."

Lynn Sawyer, who follows retailers for investment house NatWest Securities Corp. in New York, said she would have liked to have seen a same-store revenue increase of 6 percent for Hechinger Co. and an even higher increase for its rapidly growing Home Quarters Warehouse division.

Home Quarters' sales rose by 4 percent on a same-store basis for June.

Analysts consider sales in stores open for at least a year a key measure of retail health because the indicator discounts the growth generated by new locations.

Hechinger Co. reported total sales of $278.5 million for June, which is one of its highest-volume months as homeowners buy lawn and garden supplies for summer.

Also yesterday, Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc. confirmed an earlier announcement that its same-store sales weren't as poor in June as they had been in previous months.

Last week the Joppa-based apparel retailer told shareholders at its annual meeting that comparable-store sales in June to date fell by 17 percent compared with June 1993, the best monthly result so far this year.

Yesterday Merry-Go-Round, which has been in bankruptcy proceedings since January, said same-store sales for the entire month fell by 16 percent.

The company also said that its decision to close about 100 poorly performing stores has paid off in better average sales per store. Average sales per store fell by 12 percent for the month of June and by 9 percent for the final two weeks of the month.

In contrast, average sales per store for the 22 weeks that ended last Saturday were down 29 percent, Merry-Go-Round said.

The company reported total sales for June of $69.4 million, down 18 percent compared with the same month last year.

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