Several of the nation's largest retailers yesterday reported big profit gains for their fiscal first quarters compared with a year ago, largely because of stronger-than-expected sales and leaner inventories.
Dayton Hudson Corp., which is ranked fourth among retailers, said its profits jumped 15.2 percent; No. 6, Federated Department Stores Inc., posted a 9.1 percent gain; the eighth-largest, May Department Stores Co., said its profits soared 21 percent, and the smaller Allied Stores Corp. said its profits spurted 20.1 percent.
On the downside, Associated Dry Goods Corp. said its profits plummeted 41.9 percent.
Meanwhile, Geo. A. Hormel & Co. has reported a drop in after-tax income for the second quarter of its current fiscal year, citing costs related to reopening its struck Austin plant and training a new work force.
And Deere & Co. yesterday posted slumping sales and second-quarter losses of $33.4 million, and said it plans to cut production by extending some summer shutdowns and laying off more workers.
Dayton Hudson, which is based in Minneapolis, said net earnings for the three months that ended May 3 totaled $38.6 million (40 cents a share) compared with $33.5 million (34 cents) a year earlier. Revenue increased 10 percent to $2.01 billion from $1.82 billion.
Federated, which has its headquarters in Cincinnati, said its net earnings came to $47.3 million (97 cents a share) compared with $43.4 million (89 cents) last year.
The figure for last year excluded an unusual gain of $6.6 million from the sale of Federated's Boston Store division. If that gain is included, Federated's profits declined 5.4 percent. Sales rose 4.2 percent to $2.28 billion from $2.19 billion.
May, of St. Louis, said its net earnings were $40.5 million (92 cents a share) compared with $33.5 million (76 cents) last year. Sales rose 10.9 percent to $1.18 billion from $1.07 billion. The company is the parent of the Hecht Co.
In New York, Allied said its net earnings came to $20.68 million (45 cents a share) compared with $17.23 million (41 cents). Sales rose 7.5 percent to $946.8 million from $880.3 million.
Associated Dry Goods, also of New York, said its net earnings came to $5.45 million (14 cents a share) versus $9.38 million (24 cents) a year earlier. Sales increased 4.9 percent to $982 million from $936 million.
The company attributed the profit decline to lower-than-planned sales growth.
*In Austin, Minn., Geo. A. Hormel & Co. Chairman Richard Knowlton said Monday that income was down but sales were up for both the second quarter and first six months of fiscal 1986.
In the quarter that ended April 26, Hormel earned nearly $5.1 million compared with nearly $6.9 million for the same period last year. Sales were $442.2 million, an increase of 25 percent over last year's sales of $923.2 million.
For the first half of the year, Hormel reported slightly more than $923 million in sales, a 30 percent increase over the $710 million in sales for the first half of 1985
First-half earnings totaled $14 million (73 cents a share), a reduction of nearly 8 percent from net income a year ago of nearly $15.2 million (79 cents).
About 1,500 meat packers struck Hormel's flagship plant Aug. 17 in a dispute over wages and working conditions. Hormel reopened the Austin plant Jan. 13, and has hired 500 former strikers and about 550 nonunion replacements.
*When Deere & Co. officials announced the company's second-quarter loss in Moline, Ill., they said that the depressed farm economy continues to weigh heavily on Deere, the nation's largest producer of agricultural equipment.
The quarterly loss of $33.4 million compared with a 1985 second-quarter profit of $34.8 million (52 cents a share). Sales for the quarter that ended April 30 were down 9 percent from the comparable period a year ago, slipping to $1.024 billion from $1.130 billion.
For the first half of its fiscal year, Deere reported a loss of $67.8 million compared with profits of $6.6 million (10 cents) during the comparable period of 1985.