Woolworth Net Up 46%; Macy Advances 36%

From Times Wire Services

Two of the nation's largest retailers reported healthy increases in quarterly profits Wednesday, with F. W. Woolworth posting a 46% gain over a year ago and R. H. Macy & Co. announcing a 36% increase.

Woolworth, ranked eighth and headquartered in New York, said it had net income of $38 million in the fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 31. That compared to $26 million in the same period last year.

The company, which operates 5,356 stores including Woolworth's, Kinney Shoe and Richman apparel shops, reported revenue of $1.48 billion during the quarter, compared to $1.41 billion a year ago.

Domestic sales improved by 6.1%. Foreign sales rose 1.2%, although the increase was depressed by foreign exchange rates, the company said.

For the first nine months of the fiscal year, Woolworth reported net income of $71 million and total revenue of $4.1 billion. In the same period last year, the company had net income of $49 million on revenue of $3.9 billion.

Operating income as a percentage of sales increased in both the three- and nine-month 1985 periods over the prior year. Both general merchandise and specialty operations contributed to this increase.

Interest expense decreased to $18 million in the third quarter and $53 million in the first nine months of 1985 from $25 million and $66 million, respectively, in the corresponding 1984 periods. The reduction in interest expense was due to both lower rates and lower average debt levels.

Short-term debt amounted to $409 million at the end of the 1985 third quarter, a $25-million increase from $384 million at the end of the 1984 third quarter. Total debt at Oct. 31, 1985, including obligations under capital leases, amounted to $781 million, a $44-million decline from the $825-million year-earlier level.

Macy, ranked tenth and based in New York, operates 96 department stores in 12 states. It reported net earnings of $42.7 million for the first quarter of its 1986 fiscal year, compared to $31.4 million in the previous year.

Sales in the quarter ended Nov. 2 totaled $1.1 billion, compared to $1.01 billion in the same period last year, the company said.

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