Dart Group Corp., the holding company that owns a third of Crown Books Corp. and two-thirds of Trak Auto Corp., reported a 91 percent drop in earnings for its latest quarter that ended July 31, with net income totaling $6.5 million ($3.45 a share), down from $75 million ($41.37) last year.

However, the previous year's results included the one-time $75 million gain the company realized last year from the sale of its 73-store Dart drugstore chain.

Excluding the gain from the sale from the previous year's earnings, earnings from continuing operations increased more than sevenfold -- from $819,000 (45 cents) for the second quarter last year to $6.5 million ($3.45) this year.

For the six months, excluding the gain from the sale, income was $8.3 million ($4.44), up nearly 800 percent from last year's total of $985,000 (55 cents).

Crown Books reported a 150 percent increase in profits for its latest quarter -- $890,000 (11 cents), compared with $355,000 (4 cents) for the same period a year ago. Sales for the 184-store chain for the same period climbed 14 percent from $25.2 million to $29 million.

For the first half of the year, Crown's profits increased 36 percent to $2.2 million (28 cents) from $1.6 million (20 cents), with sales increasing 14 percent to $55 million from $48.2 million.

Meanwhile, at Trak Auto, despite a 38 percent increase in sales for the third quarter -- from $17.6 million to $24.4 million -- earnings dropped from $1.2 million (20 cents) to $503,000 (8 cents). The company attributed the decline to start-up costs associated with the company's entry into the Chicago market as well as the West Coast subsidiary's continuing problems, including low sales and high expenses, such as advertising and distribution, plus heavier competition in that area.

For its first six months, sales increased 40 percent from $32.6 million to $45.5 million, but profits dropped to $898,000 (15 cents) from $2 million (35 cents).