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AMERICAN STORES CO. ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER SALES AND EARNINGS

 AMERICAN STORES CO. ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER SALES AND EARNINGS
 SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- American Stores Co. (NYSE: ASC) today announced third quarter net earnings were $28.9 million or $0.42 per common share, including a loss on sale of assets of $0.02 per common share, compared to $30.9 million or $0.45 per common share in the third quarter of 1990. The third quarter of 1990 includes gains on the sale of assets of $0.05 per common share. Net earnings for the 39 weeks ended Nov. 2, 1991 amounted to $181.3 million or $2.62 per common share compared to $96.4 million or $1.40 per common share for the comparable period of the prior year. The 1991 39 weeks year-to-date net earnings include non-recurring earnings of $0.97 per common share, primarily from the second quarter sale of the Alpha Beta Co. subsidiary, while the 1990 year-to-date includes net non-recurring earnings per common share of $0.08.
 Total sales, including sales from the disposed of stores, were $4.9 billion for the third quarter and $15.6 billion for the 39-week year-to-date period. Sales from comparable operations for the 13-week third quarter ended Nov. 2, 1991 amounted to $4.9 billion, an increase of 2.2 percent over 1990 comparable operations. Year-to- date sales from comparable operations were $14.9 billion, an increase of 2.9 percent over 1990 comparable operations. Comparable operations exclude the results of stores that were disposed of during 1991 and 1990. Like store sales decreased 0.3 percent compared to the 1990 third quarter and increased 0.4 percent over the 1990 39 weeks ended year-to-date. Drug store like store sales increased 7.4 percent over the third quarter of 1990, continuing to reflect strong improvements in pharmacy sales, while grocery and combination store like store sales decreased 1.8 percent compared to the third quarter of 1990 and continue to reflect softness in the economy. The company's like store customer count increased 0.6 percent in the third quarter of 1991 compared to the third quarter of 1990. Drug like store customer counts were up 0.6 percent and grocery and combination like store customer counts were up 0.5 percent over the prior year's third quarter. These increases reflect the company's commitment to maintain its customer base by remaining competitive in retail pricing during the current economic environment of reduced levels of consumer spending. Average sales per customer in like stores were below the prior-year amounts for the quarter and were flat for the 39 weeks year-to-date.
 Operating profits from comparable operations for the third quarter of 1991 amounted to $122.3 million vs. $133.6 million in the prior year's third quarter. Third quarter comparable operating profits were negatively impacted, when compared to 1990, by increases in advertising expenses of $10.4 million and additional costs incurred to change the name of the Skaggs Alpha Beta stores to Jewel Osco. The operating profits from comparable operations for the 39 weeks year-to-date amounted to $408.7 million vs. $412.5 million in the prior year's 39-week period. The pre-tax LIFO charge to earnings in the third quarter of 1991 was $14.0 million and decreased earnings per common share by $0.12, reflecting an overall decrease in the inflation rate and lower inventories due to the Alpha Beta sale, compared to $22.5 million or $0.20 per common share in 1990. The year-to-date pre-tax LIFO charge to earnings of $54.0 million decreased earnings per common share by $0.47 in 1991, compared to a pre-tax charge to earnings of $62.5 million, or $0.55 per common share in 1990.
 The third quarter pre-LIFO operating profits from comparable operations for drug stores decreased 5.3 percent to $32.0 million in 1991 compared to $33.8 million in 1990 and for the 39 weeks year-to- date increased 7.9 percent to $116.3 million in 1991, compared to $107.8 million in 1990. The company's third quarter grocery and combination stores' pre-LIFO operating profits from comparable operations decreased 13.4 percent to $112.2 million, compared to $129.5 million in 1990. On a year-to-date basis, grocery and combination store pre-LIFO operating profits from comparable operations amounted to $369.5 million compared to $391.2 million in the like period of the prior year. Total operating profits, including the disposed of stores, amounted to $122.2 million for the third quarter of 1991 compared to $139.4 million for the like period of 1990. Total operating profits for the 39 weeks year-to-date amounted to $422.4 million in 1991 compared to $452.2 million in 1990.
 Interest expense for the third quarter of 1991 declined to $62.3 million from $86.6 million a year ago. Year-to-date interest expense declined $202.5 million from $269.7 million. Lower interest rates and a reduction in the company's outstanding debt were primarily responsible for the lower interest expense.
 Average common shares outstanding for the 39 weeks year-to-date were 69.2 million and 69.0 million in 1990. All per share amounts and average shares outstanding have been adjusted to reflect the company's July 16, 1991 2-for-1 split.
 American Stores Co.'s principal grocery and combination store operating subsidiaries include Acme Markets Inc., Jewel Food Stores Inc., Star Market, Jewel Osco Southwest, Jewel Osco Florida, and Lucky Stores Inc., American Stores Co.'s drug subsidiary, American Drug Stores Inc., operates under the Osco Drug and Sav-on names. At Nov. 2, 1991, the company's grocery and combination store subsidiaries operated 1,021 stores. The company's drug store subsidiary, American Drug Stores, operated the drug side of 225 of the combination stores and 478 stand-alone drug stores.
 AMERICAN STORES CO.
 Financial Highlights
 (Amounts in thousands except per share data)
 (Unaudited)
 Like store 13 Weeks 13 Weeks Percent
 Sales Ended Ended
 Increase Nov. 2, Nov. 3, Change
 1991 1990
 Sales:
 Grocery &
 combination
 stores (1.81 pct) $4,055,576 $4,014,740 1.02 pct
 Drug stores 7.44 pct 877,696 814,467 7.76 pct
 Other 3,872 2,691 43.89 pct
 Comparable (.25 pct) 4,937,144 4,831,898 2.18 pct
 Disposed of stores 2,253 611,868
 Total sales $4,939,397 $5,443,766 (9.27 pct)
 Operating Profits:
 Grocery &
 combination
 stores $112,198 $129,528 (13.38 pct)
 Drug stores 32,022 33,811 (5.29 pct)
 LIFO (14,000) (22,500) 37.78 pct
 Purchase acct.
 amort. (17,862) (18,692) 4.44 pct
 All other 9,894 11,444 (13.54 pct)
 Comparable 122,252 133,591 (8.49 pct)
 Disposed of stores (54) 5,824
 Total operating
 profits 122,198 139,415 (12.35 pct)
 Interest expense (62,327) (86,588)
 Gains on asset
 sales, other (2,263) 6,540
 Earnings before
 taxes 57,608 59,367
 Income taxes (28,677) (28,461)
 Effective tax rate 49.78 pct 47.94 pct
 Net earnings $28,931 $30,906
 Earnings per
 common share (a) $0.42 $.045
 Dividends per
 common share (a) $0.175 $0.14
 (a) Reflect the 2-for-1 stock split on July 16, 1991.
 AMERICAN STORES CO.
 Financial Highlights
 (Amounts in thousands, except per share data)
 (Unaudited)
 Like 39 Weeks 39 Weeks
 Store Sales Ended Ended Pct.
 Increase Nov. 2, 1991 Nov. 3, 1990 Change
 Sales:
 Grocery &
 combination
 stores (1.36 pct.) $12,189,894 $12,006,899 1.52 pct.
 Drug stores 8.91 pct. 2,671,303 2,441,021 9.43 pct.
 Other --- 9,083 8,796 3.26 pct.
 Comparable .36 pct. 14,870,280 14,456,716 2.86 pct.
 Disposed of stores 736,070 1,990,586
 Total sales $15,606,350 $16,447,302 (5.11 pct.)
 Operating
 Profits:
 Grocery & combination
 stores $369,510 $391,168 (5.54 pct.)
 Drug stores 116,323 107,812 7.89 pct.
 LIFO (54,000) (62,500) 13.60 pct.
 Purchase acct. amort. (53,936) (56,122) 3.90 pct.
 All other 30,837 32,139 (4.05 pct.)
 Comparable 408,734 412,497 (.91 pct.)
 Disposed of stores 13,627 39,683
 Total operating profits 422,361 452,180 (6.59 pct.)
 Interest expense (202,465) (269,732)
 Gains on asset sales, other 113,414 11,777
 Earnings before taxes 333,310 194,225
 Income taxes (152,030) (97,872)
 Effective tax rate 45.61 pct. 50.39 pct.
 Net earnings $181,280 $96,353
 Earnings per common share (a) $2.62 $1.40
 Average common shares
 outstanding (a) 69,172 69,006
 Dividends per common share (a) $0.455 $0.42
 (a) Reflect the 2-for-1 stock split on July 16, 1991.
 -0- 11/25/91
 /CONTACT: Cal Drecksel, VP-investor relations, American Stores Co., 801-539-0112/
 (ASC) CO: American Stores Co. ST: Utah IN: SU: ERN


KJ-EH -- LA037 -- 7104 11/25/91 19:21 EST
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Date:Nov 25, 1991
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