FINANCIAL WATCH

Penn Traffic Co., Syracuse, N.Y., said sales fell 4.7% to about $843 million for the second quarter and 4.2% to $1.7 billion for the half ended Aug. 3. Same-store sales declined 3.6% in the quarter and 2.3% in the half. "The company's quarterly revenues were below our expectations," according to chairman Gary D. Hirsch. He attributed the results to weak sales trends and Penn Traffic's ongoing investment

Penn Traffic Co., Syracuse, N.Y., said sales fell 4.7% to about $843 million for the second quarter and 4.2% to $1.7 billion for the half ended Aug. 3. Same-store sales declined 3.6% in the quarter and 2.3% in the half. "The company's quarterly revenues were below our expectations," according to chairman Gary D. Hirsch. He attributed the results to weak sales trends and Penn Traffic's ongoing investment in its repositioning program.

in the 39 weeks.

Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., reported a 14% sales rise for its discount stores division, which includes supercenters, for the second quarter and half ended July 31. In the quarter, sales rose to $18.3 billion from $16 billion a year ago. In the half, sales climbed to $34.5 billion from $30.3 billion. The division's operating profit rose 10% to $1.3 billion in the quarter and 8% to $2.4 billion in the half. Wal-Mart's overall sales were up 13% to $25.6 billion in the quarter and 12% to $48.4 billion in the half. Net income rose 12% to $706 million in the quarter and 8% to $1.3 billion in the half. According to David Glass, president and chief executive, the company expects "further acceleration in earnings" in the second half.

Metro-Richelieu, Montreal, said sales growth and operating efficiencies lifted results for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended July 6. Sales in the 16-week quarter rose 6.4% to $744.8 million (U.S.) from $700.3 million a year ago. In the 40 weeks, sales were up 6% to $1.8 billion from $1.7 billion. (Conversion rate: $1 U.S. equals $1.37 Canadian.) Due to a $7.9 million net gain on the disposal of an investment in 1995, net income fell 26.9% to $14.3 million (U.S.) from $19.6 million in the quarter and 3.3% to $34.2 million from $35.4 million in the 40 weeks. Excluding the net gain, earnings would have been up 22.5% for the quarter and 24.4% year to date, the company said.