Braced with gains in profitability of 22 percent in the quarter ended Jan. 31 and 24 percent for the full fiscal year, Hechinger Co. yesterday announced a 3-for-2 stock split and sales "well beyond our expectations" at the chain's first store in the Philadelphia area.

The Landover retail home center company said earnings were $2.1 million (44 cents a share) in the recent three months compared with $1.8 million (43 cents, on fewer shares outstanding) a year ago. Sales were up 10 percent to $170.4 million.

Owners of record April 24 will receive an additional share for every two shares under the stock split announced yesterday. The new shares will be issued May 22.

Hechinger's first Philadelphia market location opened March 3 in Jenkintown, Pa., and a second outlet will open about May 1 in Bucks County, north of Philadelphia, bringing to 30 the number of Hechinger stores.

Earlier this year, Hechinger opened new Washington-area stores in Montgomery Mall and in Northeast D.C. An offering of 800,000 common shares of the retail firm went to market last September, raising $16.5 million to help finance Hechinger expansion into the Philadelphia market and elsewhere.

Manor Care Inc, meanwhile, reported profits of $1.7 million (33 cents a share) on revenues of $29 million for the third fiscal quarter ended Feb. 28. It was the first full quarter during which all operating results for Quality Inns International have been included. Manor Care increased its substantial minority interest in Quality, a nationwide hotel concern, to total ownership last Dec. 1.

Senior Vice President James Rempe said the Silver Spring company had not compiled comparable data for operations of the two companies a year ago.