LOSS GROWS IN QUARTER AT MELVILLE

NEW YORK--Hurt by a poor performance at the off-price Marshalls division, Melville Corp. said Tuesday that its first-quarter loss widened to $26.4 million from $2.5 million a year ago.
For the quarter ended April 2, sales increased 4.7 percent to $2.5 billion from $2.4 billion. Same-store sales inched up by 0.4 percent.
With increased competition and the lateness of the Easter holiday, which fell in this year's second quarter versus last year's first quarter, Marshalls same-store sales fell 8.7 percent from a year ago, Gary Crittenden, acting chief financial officer, said in a telephone interview.
Same-store sales for Meldisco, which operates leased shoe departments in Kmart discount stores, dropped 7.7 percent from a year ago, due to slower sales of winter footwear, he added.
The other retail businesses owned by the Rye, N.Y.-based diversified retailer did well in the quarter, Stanley P. Goldstein, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
In addition to Marshalls and Meldisco, Melville operates 7,181 stores and leased departments, including drug, health and beauty care, toys and home furnishings chains.
--Fairchild News Service

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