Dart Drug Stores Inc. said its financial restructuring last summer helped the drugstore retailer narrow its loss for its fiscal first quarter, which ended Oct. 31.

Losses for the first three months were $2.3 million (31 cents a share), compared with a $5.5 million loss ($3.30) in the same period a year earlier.

In late July, when Dart was unable to meet its annual $28 million in interest payments to its bondholders, it won permission from its bondholders to swap the bonds for a new securities package -- which included a lower-interest-bearing bond and some stock -- to reduce the company's debt.

Even so, Dart was hurt by its financial restructuring as suppliers limited their shipments to the 80-store chain, fearful that the company would be forced into bankruptcy proceedings if the bond swap failed. The suppliers' action, in turn, hurt sales, which was evident in the first-quarter numbers. Dart's sales fell 8 percent, to $56 million, from $61 million a year ago.

The financial results occurred before the chain was taken over by former Peoples Drug Store Chairman Sheldon W. Fantle, who acquired control of the company through an $8 million investment in early November.

Schwartz Brothers Inc. reported that profit dropped 11 percent in the quarter ended Oct. 31, partly because the Lanham-based wholesaler of audio and video products lost its two biggest Washington area accounts.

Third-quarter earnings dropped to $235,931 (14 cents), from $263,862 (16 cents) in the same period a year earlier.

Sales for the quarter also dropped, from $21.2 million to $20.8 million -- a 2 percent decline.

Officials at the Lanham company declined to name the two accounts it lost.

For the first nine months, the company's profit declined 24 percent, to $509,073 (31 cents) from $669,689 (41 cents). Sales were up marginally, to $55.13 million from $55.12 million a year earlier.

Williams Industries, a Falls Church construction firm, said its profit fell by more than half in its first quarter, to $349,887 (15 cents) from $771.082 (40 cents) a year ago. Revenue in the period ended Oct. 31 increased 3 percent to $22.3 million, from $21.7 million a year ago.

The company attributed the decline in profit to a sharp swing in earnings at its John F. Beasley Construction subsidiary, which enjoyed robust profits a year ago because of the completion of several major contracts. The division posted a small loss in this year's quarter, the company said, because of delays in federal highway construction project funding.