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HECHINGER COMPANY ANNOUNCES FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS INCREASE AND FISCAL 1992 RESULTS

 LANDOVER, Md., March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Hechinger Company (NASDAQ-NMS: HECHA and HECHB) today announced that net earnings for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, 1993, were $2.8 million, 7 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million, 4 cents per share, last year.
 Sales for the fourth quarter were $415.8 million, compared to $357.7 million last year, an increase of 16 percent. Comparable store sales were up 4 percent for the fourth quarter.
 For the year ended Jan. 30, 1993, before the $57.3 million after-tax Strategic Reserve, the company reported net earnings of $31.0 million, 74 cents per share, compared to net earnings of $26.1 million, 66 cents per share, in fiscal 1991, an increase of 19 percent. The Strategic Reserve was recorded in the first quarter of fiscal 1992 to cover estimated costs associated with the conversion of the Hechinger Stores division to the Home Project
Center format. After the impact of the Strategic Reserve, the company reported a net loss for the year of $26.3 million, 63 cents per share. Sales for the year increased 16 percent to $1.87 billion from $1.61 billion last year. Comparable store sales were up 7 percent for the year.
 Fourth quarter earnings for the company were reduced by $1.9 million for pre-opening expenses associated with new Home Quarters Warehouse store openings, compared to $.5 million in the fourth quarter of last year. For the year, pre-opening expenses incurred in conjunction with the opening of 14 Home Quarters Warehouse stores amounted to $9.6 million, compared to $4.0 million in the prior year.
 John Hechinger Jr., president and chief executive officer of the company, said: "We are pleased with our earnings rebound in the fourth quarter. During 1992 we opened 14 Home Quarters Warehouse stores, which represents a 48 percent increase in the number of Home Quarters Warehouse stores during 1992. Customer response in our new markets has been extremely positive. During 1992, sales for Home Quarters Warehouse were up 42 percent with operating profits up more than sales. We are delighted with the performance of Home Quarters Warehouse for the year. We plan to add 10 new Home Quarters Warehouse stores in fiscal 1993.
 "In addition, during 1992 we opened three new Hechinger Home Project Centers and converted five traditional stores to the Home Project Center format. At the end of fiscal 1992, we were operating 16 Home Project Centers. Our Home Project Centers are averaging in excess of $18 million in sales per unit. Plans for 1993 call for 11 additional Home Project Centers."
 Hechinger Company is a leading specialty retailer, currently operating 124 home centers in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The company serves the growing home improvement industry through its three divisions: Hechinger, Home Quarters Warehouse and Triangle Building Centers.
 HECHINGER COMPANY
 Consolidated Statements of Earnings
 (in thousands except per share data)
 13 Weeks Ended 52 Weeks Ended
 Jan. 30, Feb. 1, Jan. 30, Feb. 1,
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Revenues
 Net sales $415,759 $357,671 $1,869,349 $1,607,727
 Other (principally
 interest) 1,733 3,299 10,743 7,713
 Total Revenues 417,492 360,970 1,880,092 1,615,440
 Costs and Expenses
 Cost of sales(A) 316,655 260,936 1,432,340 1,201,536
 Selling, general
 and administrative
 expenses 93,766 92,012 388,529 355,089
 Interest expense 5,911 3,730 17,924 14,594
 Unusual charges -- 8,033 83,000 8,033
 Total Costs and
 Expenses 416,332 364,711 1,921,793 1,579,252
 Earnings (Loss) Before
 Income Taxes 1,160 (3,741) (41,701) 36,188
 Income Tax (Benefit)
 Expense (1,620) (2,241) (15,429) 10,133
 Net Earnings (Loss) $2,780 $(1,500) $(26,272) $26,055
 Primary and Fully
 Diluted Earnings
 (Loss) Per Common
 Share $0.07 $(0.04) $(0.63) $0.66
 Weighted Average
 Shares Outstanding 41,873 41,977 41,694 39,725
 (A) Favorable fourth quarter adjustments relating to the LIFO inventory method were $3.1 million as compared to $2.2 million in last year's fourth quarter.
 -0- 3/1/93
 /CONTACT: W. Clark McClelland, senior vice president-finance, chief financial officer, Hechinger, 301-341-0450/
 (HECH)


CO: Hechinger Company ST: Maryland IN: REA SU: ERN

IH-TW -- DC016 -- 1377 03/01/93 11:40 EST
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Date:Mar 1, 1993
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