W. Bell & Co., the struggling Rockville-based catalogue retailer, said yesterday its losses widened in the fiscal second quarter and first half ended Aug. 4.

The company, which operates 20 jewelry and gift catalogue stores in the Washington, Baltimore and Chicago areas, said it lost $2.3 million in the fiscal first half, compared with a $1.5 million loss in the first half a year ago.

Sales dipped 12 percent in the half, to $40.5 million from $46 million.

In the second quarter, W. Bell lost $1.2 million, compared with a $946,000 loss in the same period a year earlier. Sales fell 15 percent, to $19.6 million from $23.2 million.

Vie de France Corp. reported continued losses for the fiscal year and fourth quarter ended June 30, with its modernized bakery division helping the company reduce the red ink slightly for the year.

The McLean-based company said most of the loss occurred in its restaurant division, which curtailed plans to build company-owned restaurants and shifted its focus to franchising through agreements with Marriott Corp.'s Host Division.

For the year, Vie de France lost $3.1 million, compared with a $3.2 million loss in fiscal 1989. Its revenue rose more than 9 percent in the year, to $102 million from $93.4 million.

Vie de France lost $1.9 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a $1.1 million loss in the same period a year ago, despite a 16 percent rise in revenue to $25.5 million from $21.9 million.