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VENTURE STORES, INC. REPORTS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS

 O'FALLON, Mo., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Venture Stores, Inc. (NYSE: VEN) reported earnings per share of $0.10, before the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle, for the first quarter of 1993 (13 weeks ended May 1, 1993). Earnings per share were $0.33 for the same period a year ago (13 weeks ended May 2, 1992). During the quarter, a change in accounting for income taxes resulted in an increase to earnings of $10.3 million, or $0.61 per share. Net earnings available to common shareowners for the quarter were $1.6 million, excluding the $10.3 million cumulative effect, compared to $5.5 million a year ago. First quarter 1993 sales were $363.6 million versus $364.0 million for the first quarter of 1992. Comparable store sales decreased 4.0 percent.
 Venture's chairman and chief executive officer, Julian Seeherman said, "This was a difficult quarter which was negatively affected by cooler than normal weather in all of our markets for most of the quarter, higher than normal store openings by competitors and the sluggish economy. Sales in the last two weeks have improved in most categories, including the seasonal businesses, due to the return of more seasonal weather. However, we are still concerned about the economy and are continuing to plan conservatively."
 Cost of merchandise sold included LIFO charges of $0.8 million and $1.0 million for the first quarters of 1993 and 1992, respectively. As a percent of sales, cost of merchandise sold increased over last year largely due to weak sales in 1993 in higher margin softlines and seasonal merchandise. Also, sales of advertised items were proportionately greater than non-advertised items, causing temporary markdowns as a percent of total sales, to be greater than a year ago. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percent of sales increased because of the decrease in comparable store sales. Net interest expense as a percent of sales decreased largely due to the improved pricing of the new credit agreement which was entered into during the third quarter of 1992.
 Venture operates 93 quality discount retail stores in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa and Kentucky. Venture's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VEN.
 VENTURE STORES, INC.
 Condensed Statement of Earnings
 (Unaudited, thousands, except per share)
 13 Weeks Ended 5/1/93 5/2/92
 Net sales $363,615 $363,970
 Costs and Expenses:
 Cost of merchandise sold 268,366 264,604
 SG&A expenses 90,012 88,466
 Net interest expense 1,569 2,067
 Earnings before income taxes and cumulative
 effect of a change in accounting principle 3,668 8,833
 Provision for income taxes 1,394 3,268
 Net earnings before cumulative effect of a
 change in accounting principle 2,274 5,565
 Cum. effect of a change in acctg. principle 10,323 --
 Net earnings 12,597 5,565
 Dividends on preferred stock 625 63
 Net earnings available to common $11,972 $5,502
 Earnings Per Common Share:
 Before cumulative effect of a change
 in accounting principle $0.10 $0.33
 Cumulative effect of a change in
 accounting principle 0.61 --
 Net earnings $0.71 $0.33
 Dividends declared per common share $0.140 $0.135
 Average common shares outstanding 16,913 16,806
 Components of Earnings as a Percent of Sales:
 Net sales 100.0 100.0
 Cost of mdse. sold (before LIFO charge) 73.6 72.4
 LIFO charge 0.2 0.3
 Selling, general, admin. and other expense 24.8 24.3
 Net interest expense 0.4 0.6
 Earnings before income taxes and cumulative
 effect of a change in accounting principle 1.0 2.4
 Provision for income taxes 0.4 0.9
 Net earnings before cumulative effect of a
 change in accounting principle 0.6 1.5
 VENTURE STORES, INC.
 Condensed Balance Sheet
 (Unaudited, in thousands)
 5/1/93 5/2/92
 ASSETS
 Current Assets:
 Cash and cash equivalents $9,469 $46,557
 Accounts receivable, net 9,909 8,679
 Receivable from May 6,528 3,493
 Merchandise inventories 274,372 253,803
 Prepaid income taxes 3,350 981
 Other current assets 3,423 6,858
 Total Current Assets $307,051 $320,371
 Property and equipment, net 274,141 189,375
 Other assets 7,323 10,275
 Total assets $588,515 $520,021
 LIABILITIES AND SHAREOWNERS' INVESTMENT
 Current Liabilities:
 Short-term debt $6,000 $ --
 Current maturities of long-term debt 951 868
 Accounts payable 164,455 164,650
 Accrued expenses 74,078 51,697
 Total Current Liabilities $245,484 $217,215
 Long-term debt 91,346 92,257
 Deferred income taxes 7,710 14,166
 Deferred investment tax credit 1,215 1,917
 Other liabilities 3,920 5,333
 Deferred gain on sale/leaseback 24,459 25,896
 Shareowners' investment 214,381 163,237
 Total liabilities and
 shareowners investment $588,515 $520,021
 NOTES TO CONDENSED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 Interim Presentation
 The accompanying unaudited condensed financial statements should be read in conjuction with the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended Jan. 30, 1993, and the accompanying notes thereto, included in the company's 1992 annual report to shareowners. In the opinion of management, this interim financial information is fairly presented and all adjustments necessary for a fair statement of the results for the interim periods have been included; however, certain items are included in these statements based on estimates for the entire year. The interim operating results exclude the Christmas season and therefore may not be indicative of the operating results that may be expected for the full fiscal year. Certain prior year items have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation.
 Cumulative Effect of a Change in Accounting Principle
 During the first quarter of 1993, the Company adopted Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 109, "Accounting for Income Taxes". This statement, which was issued in February 1992, requires the adjustment of previously deferred taxes for changes in tax rates (the liability method). Deferred income taxes on the company's balance sheet had been based on historical income tax rates, and amounts provided for years prior to 1988 did not reflect the reduced rates established by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The cumulative effect of this change increased net earnings by $10.3 million, or $0.61 per common share.
 -0- 5/10/93
 /CONTACT: Jack Burtelow of Venture Stores, 314-281-7800/
 (VEN)


CO: Venture Stores, Inc. ST: Missouri IN: REA SU: ERN

TS -- NY017 -- 6861 05/11/93 08:48 EDT
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Date:May 11, 1993
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