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HELENE CURTIS REPORTS SECOND QUARTER SALES AND EARNINGS

 CHICAGO, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Helene Curtis Industries, Inc. (NYSE: HC) today announced second quarter net sales of $338.1 million for the period ended Aug. 31, a record for any quarter in the company's history and a 5 percent increase over the $322.1 million posted in the prior-year period. The company reported quarterly net earnings of $4.2 million, or 44 cents per share, compared with earnings of $8.2 million, or 87 cents per share, in the second quarter last year.
 For the first six months of the current fiscal year, net sales rose 3 percent to a record $581.5 million from $567.2 million in last year's period. The company reported earnings of $5.1 million or 53 cents per share, before the one-time cumulative effect of an accounting change for employees' post-retirement benefits taken in the first quarter, compared with earnings of $10.7 million, or $1.13 per share, in the prior-year six-month period. The cumulative effect of the accounting change was $1.4 million after taxes, or 14 cents per share, resulting in reported net earnings for the half of $3.7 million, or 39 cents per share.
 Commenting on the second quarter and first half results, Ronald J. Gidwitz, president and chief executive officer of Helene Curtis, said, "Despite the ongoing economic conditions and competitive activity in the U.S. and international personal care markets, sales increased for the quarter and first half. Our shares in U.S. hair care are holding up in the continued `no-growth' market and we are seeing higher sales in our antiperspirant/deodorant, skin care and international markets."
 Gidwitz said that despite continued competitive pressure on its consumer brands and a decline in permanent wave use across the U.S. professional market, the company's growth continues to exceed that of the overall hair care market. Added Gidwitz, "We expect our business to rebound well when the industry picks up."
 Reviewing the company's second largest product category, Gidwitz commented, "We continued to be the growth leader in the antiperspirant/deodorant market in the U.S. Sales of our two brands, Degree and Suave, maintained a 20 percent plus combined growth rate for the first half of the year. Sine 1989, our unit share has tripled to equal our current share of over 13 percent. Helene Curtis is the only major antiperspirant/deodorant manufacturer to gain unit share during that four-year period."
 The company also saw continued growth in the skin care category as sales of its Suave hand and body lotion posted gains for the first half of the fiscal year.
 Addressing the company's international business, Gidwitz indicated that total sales from all international markets were up for the quarter and half. "Our sales in Japan continue to hold up despite what has been termed as Japan's worst economic downturn in over two decades."
 Commenting on sales and earnings for the fiscal year, Gidwitz said "We're still confident in our original projections, though we may come in at the lower end of our range." The company previously announced that it anticipates sales to increase between 5 and 10 $ and earnings for the fiscal year to be in the range of $1.50 to $1.85 per share.
 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 Ended Aug. 31 6 Months ended Aug. 31
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Net sales $338,135 $322,069 $581,507 $567,212
 COSTS AND EXPENSES:
 Cost of goods sold 155,908 143,985 264,047 255,280
 Advertising, promotion,
 selling and
 administrative 172,070 161,044 304,014 287,972
 Interest 1,923 2,129 3,696 4,524
 Total 329,901 307,158 571,757 547,776
 Earnings before
 income taxes and
 cumulative effect
 of accounting change 8,234 14,911 9,750 19,436
 Provision for income
 taxes 3,998 6,710 4,680 8,746
 Earns. bef. cumulative
 effect of accounting
 change 4,236 8,201 5,070 10,690
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change,
 net of income taxes 0 0 (1,351) 0
 Net earnings $4,236 $8,201 $ 3,719 $10,690
 Net earnings per share:
 Earnings before cumu-
 lative effect of
 accounting change $.44 $.87 $.53 $1.13
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change -- -- (.14) --
 NET EARNINGS PER SHARE $.44 $.87 $.39 $1.13
 Weighted average
 number of shares
 outstanding 9,447,809 9,446,607 9,492,545 9,471,533
 Cash dividends per share:
 Common stock $.06 $.06 $.12 $.12
 Class B common stock $.06 $.06 $.07 $.07
 TWELVE MONTHS ENDED AUG. 31
 1993 1992
 Net sales $1,182,114 $1,090,044
 COSTS AND EXPENSES:
 Cost of goods sold 527,210 489,916
 Advertising, promotion,
 selling and administrative 617,159 552,759
 Interest 6,939 9,485
 1,151,308 1,052,160
 Earnings before income
 taxes and cumulative
 effect of accounting change 30,806 37,884
 Provision for income taxes 14,317 17,232
 Earnings before cumulative
 effect of accounting change 16,489 20,652
 Cumulative effect of accounting
 change, net of income taxes (1,351) 0
 Net earnings $15,138 $20,652
 Net earnings per share:
 Earnings before cumulative
 effect of accounting change $1.73 $2.18
 Cumulative effect of accounting
 change (.14) --
 NET EARNINGS PER SHARE $1.59) $2.18
 Weighted average number
 of shares outstanding 9,517,047 9,481,443
 Cash dividends per share:
 Common stock $.24 $.22
 Class B common stock $.19 $.17
 -0- 9/27/93
 /CONTACT: Pet Wentz of Helene Curtis, 312-661-2224, or Keith Owens or Debbie Schoen of Lesnik Public Relations, 312-755-3588 or 3586/
 (HC)


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

PS -- NY052 -- 0628 09/27/93 12:06 EDT
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Date:Sep 27, 1993
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