Profit at the Hechinger Co. fell 9 percent in the third quarter, though sales rose 14 percent at the 116-store do-it-yourself hardware retailer, boosted by the recent opening of three new stores.

Same-store sales, which represent sales at stores open a year or more and are considered a better barometer of a retailer's performance, were down 4 percent. The Landover-based company's net income for the three months ended Nov. 3 was $4.9 million (15 cents a share), compared with $5.4 million (16 cents) last year. Sales for the period were $349 million, up from $306.9 million last year.

The company has been pursuing an aggressive expansion plan recently in New England and the South and plans to open an additional three stores in November in its Home Quarters division. It is also opening up its traditionally insider-stacked board of directors even further with the recent election of three outside directors, making five of its 12 directors outsiders. The appointment of Allan J. Bloostein, Ann D. Jordan and Alan J. Zakon increases the number of outside directors to five.

Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc. continued its upward spiral, with an almost 43 percent increase in earnings and a 24 percent rise in sales for the third quarter.

The Joppa, Md.-based retailer of clothes for young men and women, with 655 specialty stores nationwide, made a profit of $11.4 million (50 cents a share) for the quarter ended Nov. 3, up from $8.02 million (38 cents) in the same period a year ago. Revenue was $161.5 million compared with $130.1 million last year.

Same-store sales were up 18 percent for the quarter. In recent months, most major retailers have reported same-store sales rising by only modest single-digit percentages.

"We are delighted with these results considering the difficult economic and retail environment," said Michael Sullivan, Merry-Go-Round president and chief executive officer.

BTR Realty Inc., a Linthicum real estate development company, lost $2.8 million in the third quarter, largely because it added $3.8 million to its reserves to deal with problem properties in Arizona. The firm also wrote off $400,000 in unrecovered development costs in other markets.

In last year's third quarter, BTR lost $65,892. Revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30 was $4.9 million, compared with $6.0 million a year earlier.

James River Corp., the Richmond paper company, said its profit in its second quarter fell 7 percent to $61.8 million (68 cents a share) from $66.5 million (75 cents) in the same quarter last year.

Revenue in the quarter, which ended Oct. 28, was $1.2 billion, compared with $1.5 billion a year earlier. Because the company is in the midst of a reorganization that involves selling off some operations, it cautioned that revenue figures are not strictly comparable from year to year.