West Coast retailer Fred Meyer Inc., citing cost controls, reports earnings of $8.3 million, or 30 cents a share, for its third quarter ended Nov. 7, up 51 percent from $5.5 million, or 22 cents a share, for the year-ago quarter.

Third-quarter sales for the chain, which operates 124 stores in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, California and Montana, rose 4. 2 percent to $629.4 million, compared with $604 million in the third quarter of last year. Comparable store sales increased 2.1 percent for the quarter.Robert G. Miller, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, said that expense controls and lower interest expense, which fell 47 percent to $1.7 million, were the major contributors to the improved profits.

"We are pleased with our third-quarter sales and net income results, especially in light of the continued deflation in food prices and the adverse impact of unusually dry and warm fall weather on certain seasonal nonfood categories," he said.

Miller said the company posted lower corporate administrative and support department expenses, maintenance expenses and store labor costs as a percent of sales.

Fred Meyer said income from operations was $14.9 million, a 24.3 percent increase.

The 1992 quarter included $1.6 million in costs related to introducing the company's new President's Choice private label food program, and the adoption of new accounting rules, while third-quarter 1991 expenses included a $2.25-million charge for a work force reduction in the company's non-store administrative and support departments.

Fred Meyer plans to open five multidepartment stores next year in Anchorage, Alaska, Burlington, Orchards and Spokane, Wash., and Brookings or Medford, Ore.

For the nine months ended Nov. 7, earnings were $34.8 million, or $1. 28 a share, up 34.8 percent from $25.1 million, or $1 a share, for the year-ago period.