VENTURE EARNINGS FALL 73.8% IN 2ND QUARTER

O'FALLON, Mo.--Although women's apparel business was strong, Venture Stores Inc. reported second-quarter earnings dropped 73.8 percent while sales grew 9.1 percent.
Earnings available to common shareholders for the quarter ended July 30 were $982,000, or 6 cents a share, from $3.7 million, or 22 cents, a year ago. Sales rose to $439.6 million from $403.1 million, but same-store sales were down 0.2 percent.
In the latest quarter, the cost of merchandise sold as a percentage of sales rose to 74.9 percent from 74.6 percent in 1993. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased to 23.8 percent from 23 percent a year ago.
Chairman and chief executive officer Julian Seeherman said the company's women's apparel businesses were favorable, but its other businesses failed to meet expectations. Venture's Texas stores continued to perform above plan for the quarter, he added.
In July, the company opened two stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and one each in Houston; Geneva, Ill., and Edmond, Okla. Seeherman said the five units had strong opening sales.
Venture operates 109 discount stores.
--Fairchild News Service

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