NEW YORK — The bucks are still big in retailing, but the game is getting tougher and more of the elite are taking pay cuts.

The average compensation for 60 chief executive officers from major retail chains rose 8.9 percent in 1993 to $904,920 from $830,744 the previous year.

But in a sign of tougher times, 22 of the 60 received pay cuts last year. In 1992, only 10 of 54 went home with less.

However, the majority — 38 of the 60 — still managed to take home fatter checks last year.

David C. Farrell, chairman and ceo of May Department Stores, was the highest paid retail executive in the group, earning $2.6 million. His package consisted of $1.1 million in salary, a bonus of $660,000 and long-term incentive payouts of $896,076. Farrell’s compensation was 46 percent higher last year than in 1992.

In addition to Farrell, there were six other ceos making at least $2 million: Donald G. Fisher, The Gap; Michael Bozic, Hills Stores; David L. Dworkin, The Broadway Stores; William R. Howell, J.C. Penney Co.; Arnold B. Zetcher, The Talbots Inc.; Arthur C. Martinez, Sears Merchandise Group, and Allen I. Questrom, Federated Department Stores.

Big pay hikes went to ceos John J. Shea, Spiegel; William T. End, Lands’ End; Burton Tansky, Neiman Marcus; Myron E. Ullman, R.H. Macy & Co., and Sally Frame Kasaks, Ann Taylor Stores.

Executives at chains with strong performances are typically rewarded with cash bonuses and additional stock. On the other hand, ceos at chains with poor performances receive smaller bonuses or none at all.

Among the ceos who didn’t see bonuses in 1993 were Joseph E. Antonini, Kmart Corp.; Kenneth A. Macke, Dayton Hudson; William K. Lavin, Woolworth; David V. Wachs, Charming Shoppes; Barry A. Berman, Bradlees; and Julian M. Seeherman, Venture Stores.

Farrell was not the only well-paid executive at May Co. Thomas H. Hays, deputy chairman, made $1.55 million; Jerome Loeb, president, $1.25 million, and Richard Battrum, vice chairman, $1.1 million.

Gap’s Fisher was right behind Farrell, earning $2.5 million, representing an 87 percent pay hike. Fisher received a bonus of $1.08 million for The Gap’s strong turnaround after receiving no bonus in 1992.

Millard S. Drexler, The Gap’s president and chief operating officer, received the same pay and bonus as Fisher.

The Gap’s shares, now trading at around 42, have rebounded from a 52-week low of 25 1/2 that was reached in October 1993, substantially increasing the value of Fisher’s 22.3 percent stake. Fisher’s 33.7 million shares are currently worth about $1.4 billion.

Bozic at Hills earned $2.3 million, including a salary of $875,000, annual bonus of $437,500 and special bonus of $1 million for Hill’s emergence from Chapter 11 in October.

Dworkin, who joined Broadway Stores, formerly Carter Hawley Hale, in March 1993, was paid $2.23 million, including a $1 million signing bonus and $375,000 as reimbursement for a bonus he would have received at his prior job as ceo at British Home Stores, based in London. Dworkin also received options on 1 million shares exercisable at $10.22 a share.

At J.C. Penney, Howell’s compensation of $2.16 million represented $691,967 in salary, $1,048,884 in annual bonus and $427,221 in long-term incentive payouts. Talbot’s Zetcher’s compensation shot up 131 percent to $2.05 million, mainly reflecting a $1 million payout under a long-term incentive plan that was terminated in January. Zetcher also received 45,450 shares in restricted stock awards, worth $1.3 million at current prices.

Martinez, who joined Sears in August 1992, earned a salary of $900,000 and a $1.1 million bonus. He also received options for 78,830 shares exercisable at $31.21 each and 19,752 at $58 each. On signing, Martinez received a cash bonus of $450,000, 16,250 common shares, 102,987 restricted shares and 150,000 in stock options exercisable at $31.33 a share.

Federated’s Questrom received a salary of $1.2 million and a bonus of $800,000, the same compensation he has received since joining Federated in February 1990.

In seven months, when Questrom’s contract expires, he stands to earn in the neighborhood of $12 million through a special value added bonus that’s based on the market value of Federated’s stock. Questrom’s contract is up Feb. 2, 1995. but he is currently negotiating a new contract with Federated.

Myron Ullman at Macy’s received a 25 percent raise to $1.1 million, reflecting a bonus of $220,000 approved by the bankruptcy judge hearing Macy’s Chapter 11 case.

Tansky, the former head of Bergdorf Goodman, who was named chairman and ceo at Neiman Marcus Stores in May, saw his pay rise 44 percent to $650,000 for the year ended July 1993. That reflected a bonus of $150,000 on a strong profit rebound for Bergdorf’s.

Terry J. Lundgren, who was head of Neiman Marcus Stores, earned $797,500 from NMG in 1993. He joined Federated as head of merchandising in April.

Kasaks, at Ann Taylor, was compensated $893,750, largely due to an increase in bonus to $243,750 from $150,000.

At The Limited, Leslie H. Wexner’s pay dipped 2.7 percent to $1.81 million as his bonus was trimmed to $660,100 from $710,460. Wexner also received 100,000 shares of restricted stock; he will receive 25,000 shares when the stock price reaches $25, another 25,000 when the price hits $30 and the remaining 50,000 when the stock trades up to $40.

Wexner already holds 90.7 million Limited shares, a 25.3 percent stake, worth about $1.6 billion.

Michael A. Weiss, who became the Limited’s vice chairman in June 1993, was paid $1.27 million, including salary of $773,996 and bonus of $497,208. He received 50,000 shares of restricted stock.

Barry Diller, at QVC Network, received a base salary of $500,000, but his compensation was intentionally tied to QVC’s stock performance. When he joined QVC in January 1993, he was granted 160,000 shares and six million in stock options at $30.43 each. Half the stock options are exercisable currently and the others are special options that increase in price the longer Diller waits to exercise them.

The price of QVC’s stock skidded in the wake of its failed Paramount takeover bid, trading at around $38 a share, compared with a high of $72 reached in July 1993. The stock bounced back some after QVC Network and CBS Inc. announced plans to merge.

Gerald F. Hogan, who became president and ceo of Home Shopping Network in February 1993, received a base salary of $432,692 in 1993, and stock options of 984,876 shares at $8.25 a share.

At Dayton Hudson, Macke’s compensation of $1.81 million includes salary of $1.15 million and long-term incentive bonuses of $529,353. No top Dayton Hudson executives received incentive bonuses in 1993.

Macke, who retired effective July 1, will receive $4.16 million as part of his retirement agreement. He will continue as a consultant for $50,000 a month and is entitled to a bonus of $500,000 for 1994.

Robert J. Ulrich, who took over Macke’s post, was compensated $1 million last year as chairman and ceo of the corporation’s Target division.

Joseph W. Levy of Gottschalks in Fresno, Calif., voluntarily cut his base pay by 27.7 percent to $239,526 and received no bonus for the second straight year following two years of losses.

Both Samuel J. Gerson of Filene’s Basement and Bannus B. Hudson of U.S. Shoe missed out on bonuses for the second year in a row.

Other executives that missed their bonus for not making performance levels included Dale P. Kramer at Shopko Stores, Raymond A. Johnson and John J. Whitacre, co-presidents at Nordstrom; Michael D. Sullivan of Merry Go Round Enterprises; Allan Laufgraben at Petrie Stores, and Norman A. Ferber at Ross Stores Inc.

Lower bonuses for missing performance targets included William Dillard Sr. of Dillard Department Stores, Don R. Clarke of Caldor Corp., Raymond A. DeAngelo of The Clothestime Inc., Leon Levine of Family Dollar, Stanley P. Goldstein of Melville and Raphael Benaroya of United Retail.

— Fairchild News Service