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BEN FRANKLIN RETAIL STORES RECORDS STRONG OPERATING INCOME GAINS FOR YEAR AND FOURTH QUARTER

 BEN FRANKLIN RETAIL STORES RECORDS STRONG OPERATING
 INCOME GAINS FOR YEAR AND FOURTH QUARTER
 CAROL STREAM, Ill., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: BFRS) recorded a 53 percent increase in operating income to $3.5 million for the fiscal year 1992 from $2.3 million last year, it was announced today by Dale D. Ward, president and chief executive officer.
 Net sales increased to $340.6 million from $339.3 million the previous year. Earnings for fiscal year 1992 before extraordinary item and cumulative effect of change in accounting principle related to FASB number 106 "Post-Retirement Benefits" increased 40 percent to $1.7 million ($.32 per share) compared to $1.2 million ($.23 per share) in fiscal year 1991. Ben Franklin Retail Stores is franchisor to 739 variety stores and 225 craft stores in 47 states. The company also owns and operates four Ben Franklin Crafts "superstores."
 As a result of the adoption of FASB 106, the company incurred a net loss of $6.9 million ($1.26 per share) for fiscal year 1992 which included a $9.7 million ($1.76 per share) change related to FASB 106 and a $1 million ($.18 per share) gain for utilization of net operating loss carryforward. For fiscal 1991, the company had net income of $1.9 million ($.35 per share) which included a $.7 million ($.12 per share) gain from utilization of net operating loss carryforward.
 Results for the Fourth Quarter
 Ben Franklin Retail Stores recorded a 41 percent increase in operating income to $1.9 million in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 1992. This compares with fiscal 1991 fourth quarter operating income of $1.3 million.
 Earnings per share were $.33 compared to $.28 the previous year's quarter. Utilization of net operating loss carryforward contributed $.13 per share and $.10 per share for fiscal 1992 and fiscal 1991 fourth quarter, respectively.
 Net income of $1.8 million for fiscal year 1992's fourth quarter compared to $1.5 million for the previous year's same period. Utilization of net operating loss carryforward contributed $.7 million and $.5 million for fiscal 1992 and fiscal 1991 fourth quarter, respectively.
 BEN FRANKLIN RETAIL STORES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Statements of Consolidated Operations
 and Summarized Balance Sheet Data
 (Unaudited; in thousands, except per-share amounts)
 Fiscal year ended March 31 1992 1991
 Income Statement Data:
 Net sales $340,643 $339,269
 Total operating expenses 337,148 336,987
 Operating income 3,495 2,282
 Other income (expense) (581) (321)
 Income before income taxes,
 extraordinary item and
 cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle 2,914 1,961
 Income tax expense 1,166 712
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle 1,748 1,249
 Extraordinary item 1,006 652
 Cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle (9,664) --
 Net income (loss) (6,910) 1,901
 Earnings per share:
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle $.32 $.23
 Extraordinary item .18 .12
 Cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle (1.76) --
 Net income (loss) $(1.23) $ .35
 Average common shares
 outstanding 5,500 5,500
 Summarized Balance Sheet Data
 As of March 31 1992 1991
 Total assets $114,095 $102,180
 Working capital 47,158 36,310
 Long-term obligations,
 excluding current portion 587 961
 Stockholders' equity 49,320 37,061
 Income Statement Data
 Quarter ended March 31 1992 1991
 Net sales $86,758 $85,410
 Total operating expenses 84,877 84,075
 Operating income 1,881 1,335
 Other income (expense) (82) 211
 Income before income taxes,
 extraordinary item 1,799 1,546
 Income tax expense 722 546
 Income before extraord. item 1,077 1,000
 Extraordinary item 712 531
 Net income 1,789 1,531
 Earnings per share:
 Income before extraord. item $.20 $.18
 Extraordinary item .13 .10
 Net income .33 .28
 Average common shares
 outstanding 5,500 5,500
 -0- 5/8/92
 /CONTACT: Stacy Smith or Marcy Manning 708-291-1616, both for Ben Franklin Retail Stores/
 (BFRS) CO: Ben Franklin Retail Stores Inc. ST: Illinois IN: REA SU: ERN


CK -- NY039 -- 8065 05/08/92 11:50 EDT
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Date:May 8, 1992
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