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VENTURE STORES REPORTS SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS PER SHARE OF $0.28.

 VENTURE STORES REPORTS SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS PER SHARE OF $0.28.
 O'FALLON, Mo., Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Venture Stores, Inc. (NYSE: VEN) reported earnings per share of $0.28 for the second quarter 1992 (thirteen weeks ended, Aug. 1, 1992), up 16.7 percent from $0.24 per share for the second quarter last year (thirteen weeks ended, Aug. 3, 1991). Net earnings available to common shareowners for the quarter were $4.7 million compared to $3.9 million for the same period a year ago. Second quarter 1992 sales were $387.0 million versus $339.0 million for the second quarter 1991, a 14.2 percent increase. Comparable store sales increased 4.5 percent.
 Year-to-date earnings per share (26 weeks ended, Aug. 1, 1992) were $0.61, up 32.6 percent from $0.46 per share last year (26 weeks ended, Aug. 3, 1991). Year-to-date net earnings available to common shareowners were $10.2 million compared to $7.7 million for the same period a year ago. Sales for the period were $750.9 million versus $653.8 million in 1991, a 14.9 percent increase. Comparable store sales were up 5.2 percent.
 Venture's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Julian Seeherman said, "We are pleased with our second quarter results, which were achieved despite difficult economic times, erratic weather patterns and continuing uncertainty about the future business climate. We continue to see strong consumer preference for value and quality, and know that we are well situated to satisfy these customer desires. The quarter ended with our inventories in-line and so?ck levels below plan. We are anticipating that the difficult business conditions will continue into the third quarter, but we are well positioned to maximize opportunities as they present themselves."
 Cost of merchandise sold included LIFO charges of $1.5 million and $2.5 million for the second quarter and year-to-date periods of 1992, respectively. These compare to $1.7 million and $3.3 million for the same periods in 1991. As a percent of sales, cost of merchandise sold increased over last year primarily due to a higher sales mix of promotional merchandise, a shift towards lower margin categories and higher clearance markdowns due to unseasonably cool weather early in the quarter. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percent of sales were lower than last year largely due to the increased sales base (both comparable store and new store). Net interest expense decreased as a result of the proceeds from the preferred stock offering earlier this year and the refinancing of $9.4 million of industrial revenue bonds in 1991.
 Venture operates 92 quality discount retail stores in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa and Kentucky.
 VENTURE STORES, INC.
 Condensed Balance Sheet
 (Unaudited, in thousands)
 8/1/92 8/3/91
 ASSETS
 Current Assets:
 Cash and cash equivalents $ 48,235 $ 26,604
 Accounts receivable, net 7,287 7,257
 Receivable from May 3,493 3,834
 Merchandise inventories 246,134 216,694
 Other current assets 5,705 4,577
 Prepaid income taxes 425 685
 Total current assets 311,279 259,651
 Property and equipment, net 198,724 143,093
 Other assets 9,993 12,343
 Total assets $519,996 $415,087
 LIABILITIES AND SHAREOWNERS' INVESTMENT
 Current Liabilities:
 Current maturities of long-term debt $ 889 $ 808
 Accounts payable 157,792 127,498
 Accrued expenses 53,729 47,765
 Total current liabilities 212,410 176,071
 Long-term debt 92,063 92,916
 Deferred income taxes 14,411 14,000
 Deferred investment tax credit 1,733 2,506
 Other liabilities 4,983 8,327
 Deferred gain on sale/leaseback 25,537 26,974
 Shareowners' investment 168,859 94,293
 Total liab. and shareowners' investment $519,996 $415,087
 Condensed Statement of Earnings
 (Unaudited, in thousands, except per share)
 13 weeks ended 8/1/92 8/3/91
 Net sales $386,967 $338,984
 Costs and Expenses:
 Cost of merchandise sold 285,783 245,901
 S,G & A expenses 90,704 84,242
 Net interest expense 2,030 2,573
 Earnings before income taxes 8,450 6,268
 Provision for income taxes 3,127 2,322
 Net earnings 5,323 3,946
 Dividends on preferred stock 621 N/A
 Net earnings available to common $ 4,702 $ 3,946
 Earnings per common share $ 0.28 $ 0.24
 Dividends declared per common share $ 0.140 $ 0.135
 Average common shares outstanding 16,866 16,759
 Components of earnings
 as a percent of sales:
 Net sales 100.0 100.0
 Cost of mdse sold (before LIFO) 73.5 72.0
 LIFO charge 0.4 0.5
 S,G & A expenses 23.4 24.9
 Net interest expense 0.5 0.8
 Earnings before income taxes 2.2 1.8
 Provision for income taxes 0.8 0.6
 Net earnings 1.4 1.2
 26 weeks ended 8/1/92 8/3/91
 Net sales $750,937 $653,797
 Costs and Expenses:
 Cost of merchandise sold 550,386 473,826
 S,G & A expenses 179,171 162,913
 Net interest expense 4,097 4,995
 Earnings before income taxes 17,283 12,063
 Provision for income taxes 6,395 4,408
 Net earnings 10,888 7,655
 Dividends on preferred stock 684 N/A
 Net earnings available to common $ 10,204 $ 7,655
 Earnings per common share $ 0.61 $ 0.46
 Dividends declared per common share $ 0.275 $ 0.270
 Average common shares outstanding 16,836 16,759
 Components of earnings as
 a percent of sales:
 Net sales 100.0 100.0
 Cost of mdse sold (before LIFO) 73.0 72.0
 LIFO charge 0.3 0.5
 S,G & A expenses 23.9 24.9
 Net interest expense 0.5 0.8
 Earnings before income taxes 2.3 1.8
 Provision for income taxes 0.9 0.6
 Net earnings 1.4 1.2
 NOTES TO CONDENSED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 Interim Presentation
 The accompanying unaudited condensed financial statements should be read in conjuction with the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 1992, and the accompanying notes thereto, included in the company's 1991 annual report to shareowners. In the opinion of management, this interim financial information is fairly presented and all adjustments necessary for a fair statement of the results for the interim periods have been included; however, certain items are included in these statements based on estimates for the entire year. The interim operating results exclude the Christmas season and therefore may not be indicative of the operating results that may be expected for the full fiscal year. Certain prior year items have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation.
 Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock
 During April and May, 1992, the company completed a public offering of 769,300 depositary shares, each representing one-tenth of a share of cumulative convertible preferred stock. The offering was priced at $50 per depositary share, with an annual dividend rate of $3.25 per depositary share. the cumulative convertible preferred stock is convertible at the option of the holder into the common stock of the company at an initial conversion price of $38 per common share. The proceeds are being used for general corporate purposes and to provide financial flexibility for the company's accelerated new store opening plans.
 -0- 8/12/92
 /CONTACT: Jack Burtelow of Venture Stores, 314-281-7800/
 (VEN) CO: Venture Stores, Inc. ST: Missouri IN: REA SU: ERN


TS -- NY009 -- 9238 08/12/92 08:39 EDT
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Date:Aug 12, 1992
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