PROFITS DOUBLE IN FRIEDMAN'S SECOND PERIOD

SAVANNAH, Ga.--Second-quarter profits at Friedman's Inc., fine jewelry retailer based here, doubled to $781,000, or 8 cents a share, from $391,000, or 4 cents, a year ago.
Helped by 21 new store openings, sales grew 50.4 percent to $23.5 million from $15.6 million. Same-store sales edged up 3.2 percent. The company currently operates 173 stores in 10 states.
Profit margin in the latest quarter increased to 3.3 percent from 2.5 percent last year, the firm pointed out.
In the half ended March 31, earnings rose 72.4 percent to $7.7 million, or 80 cents, from $4.5 million, or 49 cents, a year ago.
Sales advanced 61.5 percent to $74.8 million from $46.3 million.
On March 17, the company filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue an additional 2.6 million Class A common shares. As of April 13, Friedman's had 9.56 million shares outstanding. The company plans to use the proceedsfor future expansion and to pay debt.

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