MERVYN'S TAX PLAN: Mervyn's is running a sweepstakes to help some of its customers pay their taxes. From April 3 to 30, shoppers can enter a drawing for a grand prize of up to $50,000 toward their 1993 income tax bill. Mervyn's Tax Break Sweepstakes will also award 279 second prizes -- one in each of its stores -- of $100 gift certificates toward tax preparation by H&R Block. The certificates are good through April 15, 1995.

1/2 PRICE SPROUTS: Richman Gordman 1/2 Price Stores plans to open as many as four stores in three new markets by the end of the year. Sites in Tulsa, Okla.; Springfield, Mo., and Fairview Heights, Ill., should be open by late summer, before the start of the back-to-school selling season. A second Tulsa store could be in place by late fall. The company operates 23 stores, averaging 7,500 square feet, in five Midwestern states.

PALMER TO JAMESWAY: Michael Palmer, formerly executive vice president of Dress Barn Corp., has joined Jamesway Corp. as executive vice president of finance and administration. He succeeds Barry Rockland, who resigned.

SUPER TEST: Target Stores is considering a stab at supercenters. The discount division of Dayton Hudson Corp., Minneapolis, said it is developing a supercenter strategy, which will offer general merchandise and groceries, in Omaha, Neb.

According to a Target spokeswoman, a number of sites are under consideration. She said the chain is still deciding what the merchandise mix will be, as well as the timetable for their completion. Target operates 553 stores in 32 states.

PROFITS DIP: 50-Off Stores, San Antonio, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $968,000 against an income of $810,000, or 8 cents a share, a year ago.

Sales for the period ended Jan. 28 increased 10.9 percent, to $68.4 million from $61.7 million. Same-store sales were about even.

As it had projected, the firm took an accounting charge of $3.4 million for the year and posted a loss of $8.9 million. A year earlier, the company earned $4.8 million, or 45 cents.Sales for the year rose 10.2 percent, to $199.6 million from $181 million, but same-store sales dropped 10.4 percent. 50-Off Stores operates 114 off-price stores in the South.

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