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Hills Department Stores said thin margins and a sluggish retail environment led to a $4 million loss during the third quarter. The Canton, Mass.-based retailer said the loss, equal to 21 cents per share, compares with a $2.2 million profit, or 11 cents per share, during the third quarter of 1989. The company turned an operating profit of $24 million, compared with $31.5 million a year earlier. Sales increased to $557.7 million from $526.8 million in 1989. The loss for the first nine months was $36.1 million, or $1.89 per share, compared with a loss of $24.5 million, or $1.28 a share, last year. The company also announced that Stephen A. Goldberger, its chairman, president, and chief executive, has resigned. John C. Brouillard, who has been executive vice president, was named president and chief operating officer. Thomas H. Lee, the company's largest stockholder, was named chairman and chief executive.

Oneida Ltd., the parent of Buffalo China Inc., reported that its third-quarter earnings fell 11 percent to $3.87 million, or 40 cents a share, from $4.37 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose 8 percent to $124.6 million during the quarter ended Oct. 27 from $115.7 million. A slump in the automotive and consumer electronics markets hurt results at Oneida's industrial wire subsidiary, offsetting a strong performance at its Oneida Silversmiths division.

King World Productions Inc., which owns WIVB-TV in Buffalo, said its fourth-quarter profits rose 11 percent, mainly because of higher licensing fees for its popular syndicated television shows, including "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Wheel of Fortune." King World's net income rose to $18.5 million, or 47 cents a share, during the quarter ended Aug. 31, compared with $16.7 million, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenues rose 9 percent to $101.8 million from $93 million. For the entire year, King World said its record net income of $2.15 per share was diluted by 19 cents a share because of the performance of WIVB.

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