CARMAX REPORTS SALES -CarMax Group reported sales of $138.8 million in January, a 44 percent increase over January 1998. Although same-store sales dropped 1 percent for the month, it was an improvement over the last several months of 1998. Richard Sharp, chairman of parent company Circuit City Stores Inc., attributed CarMax's better performance in part to its growing new-vehicle business.
CROWN BOOSTS PAACO STAKE - Crown Group Inc. of Dallas has increased its ownership of Paaco Automotive Group, a Texas-based used-car retail chain, to 80 percent from 65 percent. Crown acquired the additional ownership interest from Paaco's founders and management for $1 million cash and 257,811 shares of Crown common stock. The company also announced the opening of a Paaco dealership in Houston, its first outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Crown also owns the America's Car Mart used-car chain.
UGLY EARNINGS - Although Ugly Duckling Corp., a Phoenix-based usedcar sales and finance chain, more than doubled its used-vehicle sales in 1998, the company lost $5.7 million for the year because of discontinued operations. Ugly Duckling, which operates 56 used-car dealerships, sold 35,964 vehicles for $287.6 million in 1998. In 1997, it sold 16,636 vehicles for $123.8 million. The company posted net earnings of $3.56 million from its continuing operations, down from $9.49 million in 1997.