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NOLAND COMPANY REPORTS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS

 NOLAND COMPANY REPORTS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS
 NEWPORT NEWS, Va., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Noland Company


(NASDAQ-NMS: NOLD) today reported first quarter 1992 net income of $205,000, or six cents per share, on sales of $95,100,000. Sales were 9.6 percent greater than the $86,740,000 total for the first quarter of 1991, and the $205,000 profit compared to a net loss of $839,000, or 23 cents per share, for that year earlier period.
 Chairman Lloyd U. Noland III attributed the sales increase to the improving housing market and the recent expansion of the company's heating and air conditioning operations. "All four of our product departments participated in the sales gains of the first quarter," he said, "led by the air conditioning/refrigeration department."
 He added that the unusually mild winter helped boost construction activity, "but this was at least partially offset by a prolonged period of wet weather in many parts of the Deep South. In light of this, and considering the low level of consumer confidence in the first quarter, we are pleased with our year-to-date sales performance."
 The company's overall gross margin of profit (GMP) on sales fell slightly from year earlier levels. "We're aware that our margins are too low," Noland said, "and improving them will be our greatest challenge in the coming months. However, considering the highly competitive conditions in what is still a very tight business environment, we are reasonably satisfied with our first quarter margins."
 Operating expenses were held to the reduced levels of the year earlier period, but the drop in GMP led to an operating loss of $360,000, compared to first quarter 1991's operating loss of $1.8 million. "Holding expenses in line with last year's while handling 10 percent more sales was commendable," said Noland, "and bodes well for our ability to handle a rising sales volume without significantly increasing staffing levels."
 The critical factor in generating a first quarter profit, said Noland, was a 19.4 percent reduction in interest expense due to lower interest rates and less accounts receivable. "Inventory levels rose during the first quarter in anticipation of expanding sales in the spring and summer months, but our inventory turnover rates steadily improved. As long as sales continue going up, we expect to continue seeing better turns -- the payoff for all our hard work over the past few years in striving for high quality inventories."
 Noland cautioned that the first quarter, historically, is not always a good barometer of business conditions for the year. "It's too early to pronounce an end to the aftereffects of the recession. But we're certainly encouraged by the recent improvement in the economy, particularly in housing construction, as well as a 12 percent increase in our future delivery business bookings over just three months earlier.
 "If mortgage rates remain at reasonable levels and consumer confidence continues to improve, we should see increased sales opportunities in the coming months. Meanwhile, we are continuing to manage for a tight business environment."
 Noland has 92 branches in 13 southeastern states. The company distributes products in the plumbing, heating, electrical, air conditioning, refrigeration and industrial fields, as well as domestic water systems. The company's stock is traded over the counter, as part of NASDAQ's National Market System. Its trading symbol is NOLD.
 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 For the Three Months
 Ended March 31 1992(A) 1991
 Merchandise Sales $95,072,776 $86,740,142
 Net Income (loss) $205,360 ($838,672)
 Earnings (loss) Per Share(B) $.06 ($.23)
 (A) 1992 results have not been audited and are subject to year-end
 adjustments.
 (B) Based on 3,700,876 shares outstanding in both 1992 and 1991.
 -0- 4/14/92
 /CONTACT: John E. Gullet, Noland Company, 804-928-9000/
 (NOLD) CO: Noland Company ST: Virginia IN: SU: ERN


JZ -- CH006 -- 8340 04/14/92 14:03 EDT
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Date:Apr 14, 1992
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