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RATNERS GROUP ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN AND HOLIDAY SALES RESULTS

 RATNERS GROUP ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN
 AND HOLIDAY SALES RESULTS
 NEW YORK, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Ratners Group plc (NASDAQ: RATNY), the world's largest jewelry retailer, announced today their holiday sales results as well as the appointment of Mr. James McAdam as executive chairman of the company. Mr. McAdam is joining the board with immediate effect.
 Mr. McAdam was deputy chairman and chief operating officer of Coats Viyella plc, the $3 billion in sales British textile manufacturer until June 1991. Mr. McAdam was responsible for the company's worldwide operating performance. He currently serves as chairman of the British Clothing Industries Association and the British Knitting and Clothing Confederation. He is also non-executive chairman of Bisley Office Equipment Co. Ltd. and a non-executive director of Efamol Holdings plc.
 Mr. Gerald Ratner will remain as chief executive.
 1991 has proved to be an exceptionally difficult year for retailing and the Christmas period has been particularly disappointing for the Group. In the six weeks up to Christmas overall Group sales were some 15 percent below last year.
 Against the background of this difficult trading environment, it is expected that Group results are likely to be around breakeven at the trading level for the year to Feb. 1, 1992. This is before a net interest charge of approximately 27 million pounds sterling. There will also be exceptional charges which at this stage are expected to be in the region of 45 million pounds for the year. These arise principally from rationalization costs for the current year, additional bad debt provisions in the U.S. on the receivables portfolio acquired with Kay, and provisions for future rationalization and reorganization.
 Net debt at Dec. 27, 1991 was 217 million pounds and no material change is expected by the financial year end.
 The directors do not expect to recommend the payment of any final dividend on the ordinary shares. Preference dividends will be kept under review.
 The United Kingdom
 The Group continues to maintain a very strong market position with approximately 30 percent of the U.K. jewelry market. In a highly competitive consumer market the jewelry sector has been particularly badly affected. The Group's U.K. jewelry sales in the six weeks up to Christmas were 15 percent below the same period last year. Salisburys' sales were 2 percent up. Consequently, U.K. operations are expected to show a trading loss for the year.
 Over the year there has been a 10 percent staff reduction, working capital has been reduced and single figure cost inflation achieved. The Group is currently conducting a comprehensive review of U.K. operations and trading strategy which is likely to result in future rationalization measures. Cost levels continue to be reviewed in all areas of the business.
 The United States
 In the U.S., where the Group has a strong position with 6 percent of the jewelry market, there has been a significant downturn in consumer spending in the second half-year.
 Overall December sales were 11 percent below last year. In the Sterling Division, sales were 7 percent down. Kay sales were 16 percent down, but the comparison is distorted by post-acquisition stock clearances in the previous year.
 The U.S. operations are expected to show a trading profit for the year.
 Outlook
 The board is managing the business on the assumption that there will be no significant improvement in trading conditions in the immediate future. The Group's priorities are to sharpen the focus in each of its market sectors while continuing to enforce tight cash management and strict cost controls.
 Barclays Bank plc and Midland Bank plc have stated that "We have a long-standing connection with Ratners Group. We welcome and support Mr. McAdam's appointment, which was discussed with us, and we will maintain our close working relationship with the company on an ongoing basis."
 London-based Ratners is the largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry and fashion accessories in the U.K. and the second largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry in the U.S. In the U.S., the company operates approximately 950 jewelry stores in 43 states and 46 leased jewelry departments under the names Sterling Jewelers, Kay Jewelers, J.B. Robinson, Belden, Hudson Goodman Jewelers, Weisfield, LeRoy's Jewelers, Osterman, Shaw's Jewelers, Friedlander's Jewelers, Roger's Jewelers, Goodman, and Black, Starr & Frost.
 -0- 1/9/92
 /CONTACT: Michael H. Mitchell of Ratners Group, in London: 011-44-71-499-1000, or Thomas C. Franco or Jeffrey G. Gibson of Broadgate Consultants, 212-229-2222, for Ratners/
 (RATNY) CO: Ratners Group plc ST: IN: REA SU: PER


TS -- NY008 -- 8538 01/10/92 09:42 EST
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Date:Jan 10, 1992
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