VENTURE EXPECTS ONGOING PROFITS TO BE ABOUT EVEN IN FINAL QUARTER

NEW YORK--Venture Stores Inc. said Friday that it expects fourth-quarter profits before restructuring charges and after LIFO credits to be $24.7 million to $25.9 million, against last year's $25.3 million.
On a per share basis, the projected range is $1.42 to $1.49, against $1.48 a year ago.
Wall Street estimated that the retailer would earn 88 cents a share including LIFO benefits.
In latest fourth quarter, profits will be dragged down by a $20.8 million charge to implement the company's repositioning, which involves shifting from a traditional discount format to a value-oriented family department store more focused on apparel. The expected range reflects a LIFO benefit of $7 to $9 million.
In 1994, fourth-quarter profits were reduced by a $3 million charge to implement the image builder program. The earnings included a $4.3 million LIFO benefit in the 1994 quarter.
Robert N. Wildrick, chairman, president and chief executive officer, noted that the anticipated earnings exceed analysts and industry observers expectations. "These results clearly indicate that Venture is in a strong position to complete its repositioning program by the end of February, as planned," he said.

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