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GENERAL NUTRITION ANNOUNCES STRONG 3Q RESULTS; RETAIL COMPARABLE STORE SALES UP 12.6 PCT; 232 NEW STORES OPENED IN FIRST THREE QUARTERS

 PITTSBURGH, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- General Nutrition Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNCI), today announced earnings per common share on a fully-diluted basis from continuing operations of $0.16 or $6.4 million on net revenue of $122.0 million for the third quarter ended Oct. 16, 1993, compared with a loss of $0.01 per share for the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share for all periods presented have been restated to give effect to the 2 for 1 stock split on Oct. 5, 1993. Net revenue increased 25.3 percent over the same period last year. The company said that the increase in earnings per share is primarily attributable to its Retail division's strong comparable store sales increase of 12.6 percent. Fully diluted earnings per share from continuing operations for the first 36 weeks ended Oct. 16, 1993, were $0.50 compared with a loss of $0.02 for the same period in the prior year. The company posted revenue of $368.4 million for the 36-week period, a 21 percent increase over the same period in the prior year.
 William E. Watts, president and CEO of General Nutrition Companies, Inc., attributed the significant earnings and revenue improvements to the continued strength of the fundamental market for vitamins, minerals and other supplements as consumer awareness of the importance of self-care continues to rise. The company's strategy to increase market share and capitalize on this growing trend of self-care is accelerating. The company is ahead of its plan to open 300 new stores by year end with 232 already open through three quarters. The company now expects to open at least 325 new stores by the end of the year. This increase is driven by the exceptionally strong demand for the company's franchise program.
 The company's net earnings for the quarter were negatively impacted by an extraordinary charge of $1.4 million or $0.04 per share net of income taxes associated with the early retirement of debt. The impact of these charges for the 36 weeks was $5.0 million or $0.14 per share.
 General Nutrition Companies, Inc., is the largest specialty retailer of vitamin, sports nutrition and other nutritional supplement products in the country, and currently operates 1,448 retail locations of which 999 are company stores and 449 are franchise locations.
 GENERAL NUTRITION COMPANIES, INC.
 CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED AND SUMMARIZED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
 (In Thousands, Except Per Share Data)
 (Unaudited)
 12 Weeks Ended 36 Weeks Ended
 10/16/93 10/10/92 10/16/93 10/10/92
 Net revenue $121,993 $97,314 $368,403 $304,539
 Cost of sales, including
 costs of warehousing
 distribution and
 occupancy 78,082 63,079 229,632 194,219
 Selling, general and
 administrative 26,730 23,018 84,024 74,016
 Compensation expense 3 -- 63 1,329
 Amortization of goodwill 1,561 1,561 4,685 4,685
 Operating earnings 15,617 9,656 49,999 30,290
 Interest expense 4,960 6,909 17,048 22,604
 Earnings before income
 taxes and extraordinary
 item 10,657 2,747 32,951 7,686
 Income taxes 4,305 1,796 13,654 4,807
 Earnings before
 extraordinary item 6,352 951 19,297 2,879
 Extraordinary loss from early
 retirement of debt, net of
 income tax benefit of
 $856, $0, $2,695
 and $418 (1,435) -- (5,004) (812)
 Net earnings 4,917 951 14,293 2,067
 Preferred stock dividends -- 1,185 -- 3,430
 Net earnings (loss) available
 for common
 shareholders $4,917 ($234) $14,293 ($1,363)
 Primary earning (loss)
 per share:
 Earnings (loss) before
 extraordinary item $0.16 ($0.01) $ 0.52 ($0.02)
 Extraordinary item (0.04) -- (0.14) (0.04)
 Net earnings (loss) $0.12 ($0.01) $ 0.38 ($0.06)
 Average number of shares
 outstanding 39,235 24,186 37,165 24,140
 Fully diluted earnings
 per share:
 Earnings before extraordinary
 item $ 0.16 $0.50
 Extraordinary item (0.04) (0.12)
 Net earnings $ 0.12 $0.38
 Average number of shares
 outstanding 43,334 41,264
 -0- 11/2/93
 /CONTACT: Edwin J. Kozlowski, senior vice president and chief financial officer of General Nutrition, 412-288-4661/
 (GNCI)


CO: General Nutrition Companies, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: REA SU: ERN

LG-TA -- NY018 -- 9548 11/02/93 09:55 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 2, 1993
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