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AMES REPORTS HOLIDAY AND FISCAL DECEMBER SALES

 ROCKY HILL, Conn., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Ames Department Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMES) today announced that for the Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Eve holiday selling period, comparable-store sales were $368.1 million, compared with $360.6 million for the same period last year, an increase of 2.1 percent on a 308-store base.
 For the five-week fiscal December period, which ended Jan. 1, 1994, net sales were $347.9 million, compared with net sales of $390.8 million for the five weeks ended Dec. 26, 1992. Last year's fiscal December period included Thanksgiving week and only one day after Christmas. This year's fiscal December period began with the week following Thanksgiving and included a full post-Christmas week.
 Net sales for the 48-week year-to-date period were $2.026 billion, compared with net sales of $2.284 billion in the year-earlier period. This year's sales were based on 309 stores through October 1993 and 308 stores beginning with fiscal November 1993, compared with the prior year's sales, which represented 369 stores through October 1992 and 309 stores beginning with fiscal November 1992.
 For the fiscal December five-week period ended Jan. 1, 1994, comparable-store sales were $347.9 million, compared with $390.0 million in the year-earlier period, which included the Thanksgiving weekend selling period, a decrease of 10.8 percent. Comparable-store sales for the year-to-date period were $2.023 billion, compared with $2.059 billion in the year-earlier period, a decrease of 1.8 percent.
 Peter Thorner, Ames' President and Chief Operating Officer, said, "Given the highly promotional activities of all retailers during this particular holiday period, we were pleased with the increase in comparable-store sales during the important holiday selling season. During the final month of the current fiscal year, which ends Jan. 29, 1994, our principal focus is on the maintenance of an improved gross margin rate and earnings level, both of which have been ahead of last year and which we anticipate will lead to a modest annual net profit."
 Ames operates 308 discount department stores in 14 Northeastern states.
 -0- 1/6/94
 /CONTACT: Marge Wyrwas, 203-257-2659, or Andrea Priest of Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart, 212-880-5272/
 (AMES)


CO: Ames Department Stores, Inc. ST: Connecticut IN: REA SU: SLS

TW-SP -- NY039 -- 9702 01/06/94 10:57 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 6, 1994
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