W. Bell & Co. Inc. yesterday announced losses for its fiscal first quarter this year that were more than double those from the same period a year ago. Its sales also declined.

The Rockville-based catalogue showroom retailer, with 20 stores in the Washington-Baltimore area and Chicago, lost $1.1 million in the three months ended May 5, compared with a $536,000 loss in the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue fell 8 percent in the quarter, to $20.9 million from $22.8 million the year before.

W. Bell is still struggling to regain profitability and a niche in the catalogue showroom business, a retailing concept that many retailers feel is outmoded. Bell said it plans to reformat its catalogue and newspaper advertisements, increase catalogue distribution and merchandise selection, reduce inventory levels and cut operating expenses in hopes of improved financial results the rest of the year.

The company said its fiscal first quarter traditionally brings a loss.

Maryland Federal Bancorp said its profit rose 44 percent in the first quarter ended May 31, to $821,000 (27 cents a share) from $570,000 (18 cents) a year ago.

The Hyattsville-based parent of Maryland Federal Savings & Loan Association attributed the gain to increased loan volume and lower deposit costs, resulting in an increase in net interest income.

Total assets stood at $717.4 million as of May 31, up 3 percent from $693.5 million a year earlier.