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VENTURE STORES REPORTS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS PER SHARE OF $0.33

 VENTURE STORES REPORTS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS PER SHARE OF $0.33
 O'FALLON, Mo., May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Venture Stores, Inc. (NYSE: VEN) reported earnings per share of $0.33 for the first quarter 1992 (13 weeks ended, May 2, 1992) up 50 percent from $0.22 per share for the first quarter last year (13 weeks ended, May 4, 1991). Net earnings for the quarter were $5.6 million compared to $3.7 million for the same period a year ago. First quarter 1992 sales were $364.0 million vs. $314.8 million for the first quarter 1991, a 15.6 percent increase. Comparable store sales increased 5.9 percent.
 Venture's chairman and chief executive officer, Julian Seeherman said, "We are extremely pleased with our first quarter results, which were achieved against strong results for the first quarter last year. Our business strategy of offering quality merchandise at value prices to our customers was the right one and gave us significant sales increases in categories such as womens' shoes, name brand sportswear, mens' jeans, infants, small electrics, housewares, lifestyle furniture, toys, domestics and sporting goods. We are well positioned for the second quarter with our inventories under control and our merchandise plans have been made with cautious optimism."
 Cost of merchandise sold included a LIFO charge of $1.0 million for the first quarter of 1992 vs. $1.6 million last year. S,G & A expenses as a percent of sales benefited from strong comparable store sales results. Interest expense was down 15 percent vs. the first quarter last year .
 Venture operates 91 quality discount retail stores in eight Midwestern states, including seven new stores which opened March 8, 1992.
 VENTURE STORES, INC.
 Condensed Statement Of Earnings
 (thousands, except per share -- unaudited)
 13 Weeks Ended
 5/2/92 5/4/91
 Net sales $ 363,970 $314,813
 Costs and Expenses:
 Cost of merchandise sold 264,604 227,925
 Selling, general, admin. and other expenses 88,466 78,671
 Net interest expense 2,067 2,422
 Earnings before income taxes 8,833 5,795
 Provision for income taxes 3,268 2,086
 Net Earnings $ 5,565 $ 3,709
 Dividends on preferred stock 63 N/A
 Net earnings available to common $ 5,502 $ 3,709
 Earnings per common share $ 0.33 $ 0.22
 Common stock dividends declared per share $ 0.135 $ 0.135
 Average common shares outstanding 16,806 16,759
 Components of Earnings as a Percent of Sales:
 Net sales 100.0 pct 100.0 pct
 Cost of merchandise sold (before LIFO charge) 72.4 71.9
 LIFO charge 0.3 0.5
 Selling, general, admin. and other expenses 24.3 25.0
 Net interest expense 0.6 0.8
 Earnings before income taxes 2.4 1.8
 Provision for income taxes 0.9 0.6
 Net earnings 1.5 pct 1.2 pct
 VENTURE STORES, INC.
 Condensed Balance Sheet
 (In thousands - Unaudited)
 ASSETS 5/2/92 5/4/91
 Current Assets:
 Cash and cash equivalents $ 46,557 $ 27,293
 Accounts receivable, net 8,679 9,216
 Receivable from May 3,493 4,030
 Merchandise inventories 253,803 215,665
 Other current assets 6,858 4,397
 Prepaid income taxes 981 761
 Total Current Assets 320,371 261,362
 Property and equipment, net 189,375 136,119
 Other assets 10,275 12,542
 Total assets $520,021 $ 410,023
 Liabilities and shareowners' investment
 Current Liabilities:
 Short-term debt $ 0 $ 0
 Current maturies of long-term debt 868 789
 Accounts payable 164,650 125,817
 Accrued expenses 51,697 45,826
 Total Current Liabilities 217,215 172,432
 Long-term debt 92,257 93,125
 Deferred income taxes 14,166 13,486
 Deferred investment tax credit 1,917 2,709
 Other liabilities 5,333 8,403
 Deferred gain on sale/leaseback 25,896 27,333
 Shareowners' investment 163,237 92,535
 Total liabilities and shareowners'
 investment $520,021 $ 410,023
 Notes To Condensed Financial Statements
 Interim Presentation
 The accompanying unaudited condensed financial statements should be read in conjunction with the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended Feb.1, 1992, and the accompanying notes thereto, included in the company's 1991 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 Convertible Preferred Stock
 On April 15, 1992, the Securities and Exchange Commission declared effective Venture's registration statement (which had been filed on March 20) relating to a public offering of 805,000 Depositary Shares (700,000 plus 105,000 for which the underwriter was granted an option to purchase for the purpose of covering over-allotments), each representing one-tenth of a share of cumulative convertible preferred stock. The offering was priced at $50 per Depositary Share, with an annual dividend rate of $3.25 per Depositary Share. The cumulative convertible preferred stock is convertible at the option of the holder into Venture common stock at an initial conversion price of $38 per common share. The offering of the initial 700,000 Depositary Shares was completed on April 23, 1992. The underwriter will be exercising the option to buy 69,300 of the over-allotment shares, which is expected to be completed by May 18, 1992. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes and to provide financial flexibility for Venture's accelerated new store opening plans.
 -0- 5/12/92
 /CONTACT: Jack Burtelow of Venture Stores, 314-281-7800/
 (VEN) CO: Venture Stores Inc. ST: Missouri IN: REA SU: ERN


LR -- NY052 -- 9099 05/12/92 11:44 EDT
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Date:May 12, 1992
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