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BEN FRANKLIN RETAIL STORES, INC. RECORDS INCREASED RESULTS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1993

 CAROL STREAM, Ill., May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: BFRS) reported net income of $3.1 million, or $.56 per share, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1993, as compared with a net loss of $6.9 million, or $1.26 per share for the prior fiscal year, it was announced today by Dale D. Ward, president and chief executive officer. Earnings before extraordinary item and cumulative effect of change in accounting principle related to FASB No. 106 "Post-Retirement Benefits" increased 20 percent to $2.1 million, or $.38 per share, compared to $1.7 million, or $.32 per share, in fiscal year 1992. Ward stated that, "Fiscal year 1993 results were in line with our expectations."
 Fiscal year 1993 included a $1.0 million gain, or $.18 per share, from the utilization of a net operating loss carryforward. For fiscal 1992, the company incurred a charge of $9.7 million, or $1.76 per share, related to FASB No. 106 and a $1.0 million gain, or $.18 per share, for the utilization of net operating loss carryforward.
 Net sales increased two percent to $346.2 million from $340.6 million in the previous fiscal year. Ben Franklin Retail Stores recorded a 19 percent increase in operating income to $4.1 million for fiscal year 1993 from $3.5 million for fiscal 1992.
 During fiscal year 1993, the company opened 21 Ben Franklin Crafts superstores, including 15 franchised and six company-owned and operated superstores. Ben Franklin Retail Stores has in place agreements for the opening of 95 franchised Ben Franklin Crafts superstores over the next five years, including the 24 opened to date.


RESULTS FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER
 Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 1993 was $1.2 million, or $.22 per share, compared to $1.8 million, or $.33 per share, for the previous year's quarter. Utilization of net operating loss carryforward contributed $.5 million, or $.09 per share, and $.7 million, or $.13 per share, for fiscal 1993 and fiscal 1992 fourth quarter, respectively. Earnings before extraordinary item and cumulative effect of change in accounting principle for the fourth quarter was $.7 million, or $.13 per share, compared to $1.1 million, or $.20 per share, in the previous year's quarter. Operating income was $1.6 million in its fourth quarter ended March 31, 1993 compared to $1.9 million for the previous year's quarter.
 "As anticipated, fourth quarter 1993 earnings were lower than in the comparable quarter a year ago due to a change in seasonal profile with the opening in fiscal year 1993 of additional company-owned craft superstores and reduction in wholesale merchandise offerings. Stringent cost controls put in place this quarter proved effective as net sales were significantly impacted by a decline in store traffic due to unfavorable weather conditions," Ward commented.
 Ben Franklin Retail Stores is franchiser to 669 variety stores and 244 craft stores in 47 states. The company also owns and operates 10 Ben Franklin Crafts "superstores."
 BEN FRANKLIN RETAIL STORES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF CONSOLIDATED OPERATIONS (UNAUDITED)
 AND SUMMARIZED BALANCE SHEET DATA (UNAUDITED)
 (In thousands, except per share amounts)
 Quarter Ended
 March 31,
 1993 1992
 Income Statement Data:
 Net Sales $82,511 $86,758
 Total operating expenses 80,924 84,877
 Operating income 1,587 1,881
 Other expense (245) (82)
 Income before income taxes,
 extraordinary item and
 cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle 1,342 1,799
 Income tax expense 627 722
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle 715 1,077
 Extraordinary item - utilization of
 net operating loss carryforward 532 712
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle --- ---
 Net Income (Loss) $1,247 $1,789
 Income (Loss) per share
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle $.13 $.20
 Extraordinary item - utilization of
 net operating loss carryforward .09 .13
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle --- ---
 Net Income (Loss) $.22 $.33
 Average Common Shares Outstanding 5,689 5,500
 Fiscal Year Ended
 March 31,
 1993 1992
 Income Statement Data:
 Net Sales $346,174 $340,643
 Total operating expenses 342,030 337,148
 Operating income 4,144 3,495
 Other expense (755) (581)
 Income before income taxes,
 extraordinary item and
 cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle 3,389 2,914
 Income tax expense 1,285 1,166
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle 2,104 1,748
 Extraordinary item - utilization of
 net operating loss carryforward 1,035 1,006
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle --- (9,664)
 Net Income (Loss) $ 3,139 $(6,910)
 Income (Loss) per share
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle $.38 $.32
 Extraordinary item - utilization of
 net operating loss carryforward .18 .18
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle --- (1.76)
 Net Income (Loss) $.56 $(1.26)
 Average Common Shares Outstanding 5,571 5,500
 Summarized Balance Sheet Data: As Of
 March 31, 1993 March 31, 1992
 Total Assets $121,332 $114,095
 Working Capital 54,646 47,158
 Long-Term Obligations
 Excluding Current Portion 4,746 587
 Stockholders' Equity 52,459 49,320
 -0- 5/4/93
 /CONTACT: John Menzer, executive vice president of Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Inc., 708-462-6312/
 (BFRS)


CO: Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Inc. ST: Illinois IN: REA SU: ERN

KL -- CL017 -- 4484 05/04/93 16:03 EDT
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Date:May 4, 1993
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