By  on December 22, 2000

For the quarter ended Oct. 28, the Houston-based retail chain said its net loss was $22.9 million, or $1.23 a share, compared with a $2.4 million net loss, or 13 cents, in the year-ago period. The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on Oct. 16, recorded an $11 million charge for restructuring costs and a $9 million charge in connection with the closure of 44 stores. Excluding the charges, the net loss would have been $3 million. Completion of the store closures is expected by Dec. 24, leaving the retailer with 79 units.

Sales in the quarter rose 10.1 percent to $64.8 million from $58.9 million in the same 1999 quarter, while comparable-store sales increased 10.3 percent. Weiner's said sales in the current quarter were helped by the recognition of $5.8 million in layaway transactions from prior periods.

Weiner's also said that a Delaware bankruptcy court on Dec. 6 issued a final order approving its debtor-in-possession financing facility. The $35 million DIP agreement with the CIT Group/Business Credit Inc. includes a $15 million sub-facility for the issuance of letters of credit. The agreement, announced on Oct. 16, is secured by substantially all of the company's assets.

For the nine months, the company's net loss is $28.3 million, or $1.53 a share, compared with $59,000 in net income, or 0 cents, in the prior-year period. Excluding restructuring and store closure charges, the net loss for the nine months was $8.5 million, or 46 cents a share.

Sales in the nine months dropped 7 percent to $193.5 million from $208 million, while comps decreased 10.3 percent.

At the time of the filing, the bankrupt chain said it had been experiencing operating losses through the first half of 2000. Shortly after the filing, the 75-year-old retailer said it will be changing its name and broadening its merchandise mix.

As reported, beginning next February, the chain will officially be known as Weiner's Plus. Its new focus will be more on home products, such as small appliances, bed and bath items, housewares and toys. The retailer is planning a redesign of its store layout, as well as a fashion focus on trendy casual apparel, to coincide with its name change.

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