Bob Greco, 38, grew up in Highlandtown shopping at the old Merry-Go-Round on Eastern Avenue. Yesterday, he stood up at Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc.'s annual meeting and thanked the company for its "tremendous performance."
"It was not my favorite store as a teen-ager," Mr. Greco said later. "But it is my favorite store now. When I come home from work, I put on my I.O.U. jeans and I.O.U. sweat shirt," he said, referring to Merry-Go-Round's private label.
Mr. Greco was one of the many shareholders attending the Joppa-based retailer's annual meeting yesterday who were more than pleased with the company's record-breaking 31 percent increase in sales and 69 percent jump in earnings for fiscal 1991 and its strong performance since going public in 1983.
The shareholders also applauded Chief Executive Michael D. Sullivan's announcement of a 3-for-2 common stock split. The dividend is payable July 5 to shareholders of record at the close of business June 28.
"We are doing this because we are confident about our future, and we want our stockholders to know that," Mr. Sullivan said.
Merry-Go-Round's divisions -- which include the popular Merry-Go-Round, Deejaiz, Attivo and Boogie's Diner banners -- managed its strong performance during a time when other retailers were making marginal gains, if any at all.
Mr. Sullivan said the company will add 140 stores in fiscal 1992 and is looking for possible acquisitions. He said the chain has the potential to grow to 1,680 stores. It now has about 750 stores.
The retailer, which specializes in teen-age clothing, is doubling the size of its warehouse in Joppa to accommodate growth.
"Two billion [in sales] by the year 2000," Mr. Sullivan predicted to nods of approval from shareholders and a burst of applause.
Merry-Go-Round's stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $29.625 yesterday, down 75 cents.