COMPETITION STINGS BRADLEES IN '94

Byline:

NEW YORK--Hurt by intensified discounter and department store competition and weak apparel trends, Bradlees Inc. fourth-quarter profits dropped 52.5 percent, while sales gained 6.5 percent.
In the quarter, earnings fell to $13.1 million, or $1.15 a share, from $27.5 million, or $2.44, a year ago. Sales grew to $635.8 million from $597.2 million.
Mark A. Cohen, chairman and chief executive officer, said "1994 was a difficult year." He attributed the poor results to "heightened promotional activity from both existing and new competition and department stores, as well as unfavorable trends in apparel industrywide." Cohen added that unseasonably warm weather also hurt sales and earnings.
In the year ended Jan. 28, earnings before special items declined 56.8 percent to $5.8 million, or 51 cents, from $13.5 million, or $1.19, a year ago.
After a $485,000 accounting charge, earnings in the latest year were reduced to $5.3 million. In the previous year, after a $5.2 million charge related to debt refinancing and a $1.5 million accounting charge, earnings were cut to $6.8 million. Sales edged up 1.9 percent to $1.91 billion from $1.88 billion.
Cohen noted that the Braintree, Mass.-based firm continued to reduce operating expenses and last year completed its largest store opening program in almost 10 years, with 10 new stores and one replacement unit.
Bradlees operates 136 discount stores in the Northeast and Virginia.
Bradlees stock closed down 3/8 to 10 7/8, Tuesday on The New York Stock Exchange.
--Fairchild News Service

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