Dart Drug is pulling out of home improvement center business and closing all its separate Dart Home stores.

The Landover-based drug chain, however, plans to continue to sell home improvement products through its combination drug and hardware stores.

Dart already has locked the doors on its Dart Home stores in the Fair City shopping center in Fairfax on Keene Mill Road in Burke, and soon will close in Manassas.

Employes at the stores said the home improvement merchandise will be moved into adjacent Dart Drug stores. The company reportedly is seeking to lease the former home center properrties to discount department store chains.

Dart executives could not be reached for comment on the decision to abandon the highly-competitive home improvement retailing operations.

Dart is the second major Washington retailer in recent weeks to abandon an attempt at diversification. Giant Food is now holding going-out-of-business sales in its four Giant Department Stores, which will be closed somestime next month.

The first Dart Home store opened in 1973 at Mannaport shopping center in Manassas.

The 60,000-square-foot store were even larger than the stores of hechinger's, which then as now dominate the Washington home center market.

Although the Dart Home stores drew parades of retailers to inspect their unique fixtures, they reportedly failed to produce the sales volume Dart executives had anticipated.

Dart recently began another diversifcation move, opening the first of a planned chain of Crown books stores, offering best welling books and magazines at discount prices.