NEW YORK — Venture Stores Inc. reported a loss of $61 million in the fourth quarter of 1996 and forecast a loss of $14.6 million to $16.4 million in this year’s first quarter.
Venture, based in O’Fallon Mo., blamed its projected loss on an inability to get goods due to an unstable financial position.
However, Venture added that it closed on its previously announced $250 million credit line with Bankers Trust Commercial Corp., and most vendors have resumed shipping.
The loss in the quarter ended Jan. 25 was in line with a forecast in January.
The figure included pretax charges of $50 million to cover markdowns and closing three stores.
Excluding the charges, Venture would have lost $16.8 million.
In the 1995 fourth quarter, Venture lost $22.3 million after charges of $20.8 million for its repositioning, which involves shifting from a general discounter to a value-priced department store.
Sales in the latest quarter slumped by 19.1 percent to $474.9 million.
In the year, the loss was $47.6 million after $50 million in pretax restructuring charges. Sales dropped 23 percent to $1.49 billion, with same-store sales off 20.2 percent.
Venture’s March’s same-store sales declined 12.1 percent, due to some holdups from vendors.
Nevertheless, Robert N. Wildrick, chief executive officer, said improved sales from December through February shows growing consumer acceptance of its family concept.

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