Sales down again at Merry-Go-Round

September 01, 1995|By Alec Matthew Klein | Alec Matthew Klein,Sun Staff Writer

Sales continued to drop in August at Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc., the Joppa-based fashion retailer. But it was the chain's second best month since it filed for bankruptcy protection in January 1994.

The company yesterday reported sales of $59.6 million for the four weeks that ended Aug. 26, a 22 percent decline from the $76.3 million in sales over the same period last year. Sales at stores open at least a year, an important gauge of performance, dropped 7 percent.

The chain of 975 stores, geared to young adults, has not had a gain in same-store sales since December 1992. Its best month was April, when sales were flat.

Richard P. Crystal, the company's new president and chief executive, said in a statement, "August is the first month this year that the same-store sales decline has been below 12 percent, excluding April, which benefited from the Easter selling season. . . . This trend is encouraging."

He failed to mention that August is considered part of another important sales season for Merry-Go-Round: back-to-school.

"This is a pivotal month for Merry-Go-Round stores because of their identity with the youth market, so their report card was a gentleman's C at best," said Alan G. Millstein, editor and publisher of Fashion Network Report.

Mr. Millstein noted, however, that "after many months of horrific news about the company, this is the first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel."

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