NEW YORK — The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. has appointed Steven C. Mason interim president, to succeed Frederick J. Mershad, who is retiring as chairman, president and chief executive officer. A search for a new president and ceo is under way.

Mason served as chairman and ceo of Mead Corp. from 1992 until his retirement in November 1997. He has been a director of Elder-Beerman since December 1997 and is chairman of the chain’s nominating and corporate governance committee and its executive committee. Mead makes and sells paper, pulp and wood products and office supplies. Mead and Elder-Beerman are both based in Dayton, Ohio.

Previously, Elder-Beerman reported net losses of $3.9 million, or 35 cents a share, for the third quarter ended Nov. 3, compared with $8.2 million, or 58 cents, a year ago. Excluding extraordinary items in both periods, losses widened to $2.2 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with a $1.4 million, or 10 cents, deficit a year ago.

Per-share comparisons are affected by the firm’s repurchase of 23 percent of its outstanding shares in October 2000.

For the 39 weeks, losses totaled $7.7 million, or 68 cents a share, compared with $15.2 million, or $1.05, a year ago. Adjusted losses widened to $6.4 million, or 56 cents a share, from $4.1 million, or 28 cents, a year ago. Revenues for the quarter slid 0.9 percent, to $160.6 million and fell 0.9 percent, to $445.7 million for the 39 weeks.

The nation’s ninth-largest independent department store chain, Elder-Beerman operates 66 stores in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Elder-Beerman also operates two furniture galleries.