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BEN FRANKLIN RETAIL STORES, INC. REPORTS INCREASED RESULTS FOR BOTH SECOND QUARTER AND FIRST HALF OF FISCAL 1993

 BEN FRANKLIN RETAIL STORES, INC. REPORTS INCREASED RESULTS
 FOR BOTH SECOND QUARTER AND FIRST HALF OF FISCAL 1993
 CAROL STREAM, Ill., Oct 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Ben Franklin Retail Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: BFRS) today reported a 29 percent increase in net income to $1.8 million, or $.32 per share, for the fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30, 1992, compared with $1.4 million, or $.25 per share in the comparable quarter of fiscal 1992, according to Dale D. Ward, president and chief executive officer.
 Net income included a $247,000, or $.04 per shar, extraordinary gain for the utilization of net operating loss carryforwards in the second quarter. There was no extraordinary item in the prior year's second quarter. Excluding this item, net income was $1.5 million, 11 percent above last year's $1.4 million.
 Operating income increased 15 percent to $2.6 million from $2.2 million in the comparable quarter a year ago. Second quarter sales rose five percent to $96.9 million.
 "We are encouraged by the second quarter improvement in sales and earnings," said Ward, "particularly as they reflect new Ben Franklin Crafts Superstore openings and continued rising consumer interest in the crafts and craft merchandise we offer. Our strategic focus in this high-volume growth market is proving effective, despite the weak economy."
 First Half Results:
 Net income for the first half, including the extraordinary item, was $1.1 million, or $.19 per share. This compares with a net loss of $9.4 million, or $1.71 per share in fiscal 1992, which included a $9.7 million, or $1.76 per share, charge related to the adoption of FASB No. 106 "Post-Retirement Benefits."
 Operating income more than doubled to $1.5 million as compared with $665,000 in the first six months of fiscal 1992. Net sales increased three percent to $174.2 million. Income before extraordinary item and change in accounting principle improved to $815,000 or $.15 per share, as compared with $282,000, or $.05 per share, in the first half of fiscal year 1992.
 During the first half of the current fiscal year, Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Inc. opened eight Ben Franklin Crafts Superstores, including seven franchised and one Company-owned and operated superstore. The Company has announced plans to open an additional 18 of its craft superstores this fiscal year, including 13 franchised and five Company-owned and operated superstores.
 Ben Franklin has signed agreements for the opening of 70 franchised craft superstores over the next five years, including the 16 stores opened to date. "Our company would expect the backlog of these craft superstore agreements to continue to grow, based on the initial success of our original stores and the availability of additional under-retailed markets," Ward said.
 Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Inc. is franchisor to 704 variety stores and 241 craft stores in 47 states. In addition, the Company also owns and operates five Ben Franklin Crafts superstores.
 BEN FRANKLIN RETAIL STORES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF CONSOLIDATED OPERATIONS (UNAUDITED)
 AND SUMMARIZED BALANCE SHEET DATA (UNAUDITED)
 (In thousands, except per share amounts)
 Second Quarter Ended
 9/30/92 9/30/91
 INCOME STATEMENT DATA:
 Net Sales $ 96,926 $ 92,393
 Total operating expenses 94,355 90,155
 Operating Income 2,571 2,238
 Other expense 221 149
 Income before income taxes,
 extraordinary item and cumulative
 effect of change in accounting
 principle 2,350 2,089
 Income tax expense 818 708
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle 1,532 1,381
 Extraordinary item- utilization of
 net operating loss carryforward 247 ---
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle --- ---
 Net Income (Loss) $ 1,779 $ 1,381
 INCOME (LOSS) PER SHARE
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle $ .28 $ .25
 Extraordinary item - utilization
 of net operating loss carryforward .04 ---
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle --- ---
 Net Income (Loss) $ .32 $ .25
 Average Common Shares Outstanding 5,500 5,500
 Six Months Ended
 9/30/92 9/30/91
 INCOME STATEMENT DATA:
 Net Sales $174,167 $168,500
 Total operating expenses 172,692 167,835
 Operating Income 1,475 665
 Other expense 311 345
 Income before income taxes,
 extraordinary item and cumulative
 effect of change in accounting
 principle 1,164 320
 Income tax expense 349 38
 Income before
 extraordinary item and cumulative
 effect of change in accounting
 principle 815 282
 Extraordinary item- utilization of
 net operating loss carryforward 247 ---
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle --- $ (9,664)
 Net Income (Loss) $ 1,062 $ (9,382)
 Income (Loss) per share
 Income before extraordinary item
 and cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle .15 .05
 Extraordinary item - utilization
 of net operating loss carryforward .04 ---
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle --- (1.76)
 Net Income (Loss) $ .19 $ (1.71)
 Average Common shares Outstanding 5,500 5,500
 SUMMARIZED BALANCE SHEET DATA: As of
 9/30/92 3/31/92
 Total Assets $137,077 $114,095
 Working Capital 58,901 47,158
 Long-Term Obligations
 Excluding Current Portion 9,819 587
 Stockholders' Equity 50,382 49,320
 -0- 10/15/92
 /CONTACT: John Menzer, executive vice president of Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Inc., 708-462-6312/
 (BFRS) CO: Ben Franklin Retail Stores ST: Illinois IN: REA SU: ERN


KK -- CL003 -- 0267 10/15/92 09:35 EDT
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Date:Oct 15, 1992
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