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MONTGOMERY WARD ANNOUNCES DIVERSIFICATION INITIATIVES

 CHICAGO, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Montgomery Ward announced today that it is pursuing growth opportunities through leveraging its specialty store business and the Signature Group, its direct marketing subsidiary.
 The specialty store segment will be focusing on growth opportunities through a new retail specialty format. The new format is in development and leverages the current successful strategies of "Electric Avenue" and "Rooms and More." Electric Avenue, specializing in electronics and appliances, has had excellent performance in 1993 and is expected to improve in both market share and profitability.
 Rooms and More, a format which sells complete rooms of furniture and was developed to leverage Montgomery Ward's strong position in the furniture industry, was implemented across the company in 1993 and is returning outstanding sales results.
 The new format is a freestanding home fashion store for mid-sized markets, focusing on high quality name brand products at exceptional value, combining the strengths of Electric Avenue and Rooms and More.
 The first two locations, with 45,000 square feet of selling space, will open in La Crosse, Wis., and Oswensboro, Ky., in mid-1994. Additional locations will be announced at a later date.
 "This is an opportunity to leverage our successful business in mid- sized markets through the opening of new stores and through potential acquisitions," said Bernard F. Brennan, Montgomery Ward chairman and chief executive officer. "We also plan to continue to grow our full- line specialty stores in the future. We opened 11 stores in 1993 and plan to open at least another 10 in 1994, bringing the total number of new locations to 72 since 1987."
 In addition, Montgomery Ward's Signature Group, a leader in the direct marketing industry, is pursuing acquisitions, partnerships and new channels of distribution, as well as developing alliances to utilize sophisticated direct response techniques, such as interactive devices, in conjunction with television.
 The Signature Group developed the concept for Montgomery Ward Direct, a specialty catalog business. Under the leadership of Richard Bergel, Montgomery Ward vice chairman, and in partnership with Fingerhut Companies, Montgomery Ward Direct will exceed $100 million in sales in its first full year.
 These strategic actions will result in a realignment of Montgomery Ward's management structure that will be completed in early 1994. In anticipation of the realignment, Hal Kahn, Montgomery Ward president and senior merchant, has left the company.
 "I would like to thank Hal Kahn for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors," said Brennan. "The realignment will allow each of our strategic business channels to grow independently. I am very excited about the ability to focus the company on these business opportunities, which we will detail further in the near future."
 Montgomery Ward became a privately owned company in 1988 through the largest management led buyout in U.S. history. 1992 revenues were $5.8 billion and the company has enjoyed a strong performance in the first nine months of 1993.
 -0- 12/8/93
 /CONTACT: Sarina Butler, director of communications of Montgomery Ward, 312-467-2025/


CO: Montgomery Ward ST: Illinois IN: SU:

MP -- NY069 -- 1782 12/08/93 12:54 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 8, 1993
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