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HELENE CURTIS INDUSTRIES REPORTS FIRST QUARTER SALES AND EARNINGS

 CHICAGO, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Helene Curtis Industries, Inc. (NYSE: HC) today announced net sales of $243.4 million for the quarter ended May 31, compared with $245.1 million in the prior-year period. The company reported earnings of $834,000, or 9 cents per share, before the one-time cumulative effect of an accounting change, compared with earnings of $2.5 million, or 26 cents per share in the first quarter last year. The cumulative effect of an accounting change for employees' post-retirement benefits was $1.3 million, after taxes, or 14 cents per share, resulting in a reported net loss in the first quarter of $517,000, or 5 cents per share.
 Commenting on the first quarter results at the company's annual meeting of stockholders today, Ronald J. Gidwitz, president and chief executive officer of Helene Curtis said, "The `no-growth' status of the U.S. consumer and professional hair care products markets and ongoing competitive activity in the U.S. and international markets were the major reasons why sales for the quarter were down slightly. However, Helene Curtis' long-term strategy of building and maintaining big consumer brands will help us through the current environment and get us back on track to positive sales and earnings growth.
 "We currently expect earnings for the year will be in the range of $1.50 to $1.85 per share, excluding the impact of the accounting change. Sales should increase by 5 to 10 percent," Gidwitz explained. "As we look beyond this year, we believe that the strength of our brands worldwide and our strong customer relationships place us in an excellent position to continue building long-term value for the company and its stockholders."
 Commenting on Vibrance, the company's newest consumer hair care brand, Gidwitz said, "Although introductory sales of Vibrance met our expectations, sales for the brand in recent months -- due to competitive pressures -- have not met our goals. However, we are evaluating and adjusting, where needed, every aspect of the brand's marketing effect and believe Vibrance will join our other consumer hair care brands -- Suave, Finesse and Salon Selectives -- as a strong, viable brand."
 Reviewing the company's second largest product category, Gidwitz commented, "While the overall antiperspirant/deodorant market in the U.S. continues to grow modestly, our two brands -- Degree and Suave -- recorded first quarter sales increases of more than 20 percent."
 Gidwitz explained that the company also has a growing presence in the skin care category, through its Suave hand and body lotions and facial care products. Suave continued to grow in both these segments of the skin care category in the quarter.
 Turning to a discussion of the company's international business, Gidwitz indicated that sales have more than tripled over the last five years and now account for approximately a third of the company's business. International operations posted solid sales gains for the quarter, primarily attributable to strong performances in Japan and the United Kingdom.
 Commenting on steps the company is taking to respond to current market conditions in the U.S. and internationally, Gidwitz said, "We have worked hard to build market-leading brands around the world and we will continue to aggressively support these brands."
 Helene Curtis Industries, Inc. is one of the nation's major producers of brand-name personal care products. The company markets its products to consumers through supermarkets, mass merchandisers and drug stores, and to beauty salons through distributors. Helene Curtis products are sold in more than 100 countries.
 HELENE CURTIS INDUSTRIES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Consolidated Statements of Earnings
 (Unaudited, dollar amounts in thousands, except per share data)
 3 Months 12 Months
 Periods ended May 31 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Net sales $243,372 $245,143 $1,166,048 $1,041,199
 Costs and expenses:
 Cost of goods sold 108,139 111,295 515,287 470,440
 Advertising, promotion,
 selling &
 administrative 131,944 126,928 606,133 524,919
 Interest 1,773 2,395 7,145 9,885
 Total 241,856 240,618 1,128,565 1,005,244
 Earnings before Income
 taxes and cumulative
 effect of accounting
 change 1,516 4,525 37,483 35,955
 Provision for income taxes 682 2,036 17,029 16,494
 Earnings before cumulative
 effect of accounting
 change 834 2,489 20,454 19,461
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change,
 net of income taxes (1,351) -- (1,351) --
 Net earnings (loss) $ (517) $ 2,489 $ 19,103 $ 19,461
 Net earnings (loss) per share:
 earnings before
 cumulative effect of
 accounting change $.09 $.26 $2.16 $2.06
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change (.14) -- (.14) --
 Net earnings (loss) per
 share $(.05) $.26 $2.02 $2.06
 Weighted average
 number of shares
 outstanding 9,537,281 9,496,460 9,516,746 9,469,828
 Cash dividends per share
 Common stock $.06 $.06 $.24 $.21
 Class B common stock $.01 $.01 $.19 $.16
 -0- 6/22/93
 /CONTACT: Diane Falanga of Helene Curtis, 312-661-2056 (after 12 p.m.); or Keith Owens or Debbie Schoen, 312-755-3588 or 312-755-3586, both of Lesnik Public Relations, for Helene Curtis Industries/
 (HC)


CO: Helene Curtis Industries, Inc. ST: Illinois IN: HOU SU: ERN

WB -- NY066 -- 4666 06/22/93 15:47 EDT
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Date:Jun 22, 1993
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