NEW YORK--Edison Bros. Inc., aiming to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings this summer, cut its net losses before special charges in both the fourth quarter and the year ended Feb. 1. In the quarter, the net loss before charges was cut to $4.3 million from $8.8 million. After the special charges, the net loss was narrowed to $88.8 million from $106.6 million. The latest quarter included a $74 million accounting charge to recognize the impairment of long-lived assets, as well as a $10.5 million provision for store closing costs and legal and consulting fees tied to its bankruptcy reorganization. Sales fell 26.1 percent to $308.2 million from $416.8 million, reflecting the closing of about 200 stores last year. Same-store sales rose 0.6 percent. The narrower loss was helped by a hike in gross margins to 28.3 percent of sales from 22.3 percent. "Edison's fourth-quarter 1996 operating results were an improvement over 1995, but they still reflect a company in the midst of a major restructuring effort," said Alan Miller, Edison's chairman and president. Edison, in bankruptcy since November 1995, operates 1,800 stores in malls, including the Jeans West, Coda, Oaktree, J. Riggings and Repp Ltd. men's wear chains; 5-7-9 juniors chain, and Baker/Leeds and Wild Pair footwear chains. In the year, the loss before charges was cut to $32.9 million from $63.9 million, and the net loss was reduced to $143.2 million from $222 million. Besides the $74 million accounting charge, the latest year includes $36.3 million in reorganization costs. The year-ago period includes $167.1 million in restructuring and reorganization expenses. Sales slumped 21.5 percent to $1.09 billion from $1.39 billion, with same-store sales slipping 1.9 percent. Edison also said it filed a proposed reorganization plan with bankruptcy court in Delaware that calls for the estimated payout to unsecured creditors of 92 cents a share.
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