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FINGERHUT REPORTS 13 PERCENT INCREASE IN FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS DECLARES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND

 FINGERHUT REPORTS 13 PERCENT INCREASE IN FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS
 DECLARES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND
 MINNEAPOLIS, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Fingerhut Companies, Inc. (NYSE: FHT) announced that first quarter 1992 net earnings increased 13 percent to $9.6 million or $.37 per share, on increased shares, from $8.5 million or $.35 per share for the first quarter of 1991. Net revenues for the first quarter of 1992 were slightly lower at $309 million compared with $314 million for the same period in 1991.
 Net earnings increased as a result of strong earnings performance from Fingerhut's core business, partially offset by softness in the subsidiaries. Product margins remain strong and are 1.5 percentage points higher, as a percent of net sales, than in the first quarter of 1991. Administrative and selling expenses, as a percent of net sales, increased 2.4 percentage points over first quarter 1991, primarily as a result of lower sales per advertising dollar spent on Fingerhut's customer list, which includes the effect of the postal rate increase. The provision for uncollectible accounts improved .7 percentage points, as a percent of net sales, primarily due to improved credit screens on Fingerhut's new customer acquisition programs. Discount on sale of accounts receivable and interest expense, net, in the aggregate, were favorable due to lower commercial paper rates for the 1992 period.
 Net sales from Fingerhut's customer list were up approximately 6 percent over the first quarter of 1991. Net sales from Fingerhut's new customer acquisition programs were down due to improved credit screens and the planned shift from other media to catalogs, designed to increase customer retention. Net sales from Fingerhut's subsidiaries were down as a result of reduced mailings and soft customer response, partially affected by the recessionary environment and the timing of Easter.
 "We are pleased with the core business earnings growth," said Ted Deikel, Fingerhut's chairman and CEO, "and we look forward to improving performance from our subsidiaries as the economy improves."
 The company also announced that it has declared its quarterly cash dividend in the amount of $.08 per share, payable May 22, 1992, to the shareholders of record at the close of business on April 29, 1992.
 Fingerhut Companies, Inc., is one of the nation's largest catalog marketing companies and sells brand name and private label merchandise to an active base of 13 million customers. The company employs approximately 8,000 people in locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Fingerhut Companies, Inc., common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FHT.
 FINGERHUT COMPANIES, INC., AND SUBSIDIARIES
 (In thousands of dollars, except per share data)
 (Unaudited)
 13 Weeks Ended
 3/27/92 3/29/91
 Revenues $309,472 $313,776
 Net income 9,590 8,493
 Earnings per share
 of common stock and
 common stock equivalents $.37 $.35
 Weighted average shares of
 common stock and common stock
 equivalents (000s) 26,108 24,488
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS
 (In thousands of dollars, except per share data) (Unaudited)
 13 Weeks Ended
 3/27/92 3/29/91
 Revenues:
 Net sales $284,935 $289,739
 Finance income, net 24,537 24,037
 -- 309,472 313,776
 Cost and expenses:
 Product cost 131,801 138,374
 Administrative and
 selling expenses 113,163 108,010
 Provision for
 uncollectible accounts 38,391 41,188
 Discount on sale of
 accounts receivable 3,950 8,067
 Interest expense, net 7,470 5,025
 -- 294,775 300,664
 Income before income
 tax provision 14,697 13,112
 Provision for income taxes 5,107 4,619
 Net income $9,590 $8,493
 Earnings per share of common
 stock and common stock equivalents $.37 $.35
 Weighted average shares of
 of common stock and common
 stock equivalents 26,107,880 24,487,659
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL POSITION
 (In thousands of dollars)
 3/27/92 12/27/91
 Assets (Unaudited)
 Current Assets:
 Cash and cash equivalents $8,228 $9,226
 Customer accounts receivable, net 293,079 331,410
 Inventories, net 126,335 120,461
 Promotional material 52,262 43,529
 Deferred and other income taxes 62,003 78,491
 Other 6,747 8,003
 Total current assets 548,654 591,120
 Property, plant and equipment, net 150,496 141,956
 Excess of cost over fair value
 of net assets acquired, net 48,649 48,822
 Customer lists, net 17,019 17,176
 Other assets 7,219 2,925
 -- $772,037 $801,999
 Liabilities
 Current liabilities:
 Accounts payable $120,786 $127,520
 Accrued payroll and
 employee benefits 17,190 32,610
 Other accrued liabilities 48,934 57,299
 Revolving credit facility 58,000 57,000
 Current portion of long-term debt
 and capitalized lease 339 5,853
 Current income taxes payable -- 12,593
 Total current liabilities 245,249 292,875
 Long-term debt and capitalized
 lease, less current portion 127,414 119,164
 Deferred income taxes 2,776 1,990
 Other long-term liabilities 3,892 3,821
 Stockholders' equity:
 Preferred stock, $.01 par value;
 5,000,000 shares authorized; none
 issued and outstanding -- --
 Common stock, $.01 par value;
 50,000,000 shares authorized;
 23,880,200 and 23,832,700
 issued and outstanding in 1992
 and 1991, respectively 239 238
 Additional paid-in capital 255,137 254,261
 Earnings reinvested 137,330 129,650
 Total stockholders' equity 392,706 384,149
 -- $772,037 $801,999
 -0- 4/13/92
 /CONTACT: Theodore Deikel of Fingerhut Companies, 612-936-5410/
 (FHT) CO: Fingerhut Companies, Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: REA SU: ERN


DS -- MN003 -- 7593 04/13/92 09:14 EDT
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Date:Apr 13, 1992
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