YOUNKERS 4TH-QUARTER NET RISES 22.7%

NEW YORK — Strong sales in women’s apparel, cosmetics, shoes and home goods, and a LIFO credit, helped Younkers Inc. score a 22.7 percent gain in fourth-quarter earnings.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based department store chain reported net income of $9.8 million, or $1.07 a share, in the quarter ended Jan. 28, up from $8 million, or 86 cents, a year earlier. Earnings topped Wall Street’s average estimate of 99 cents a share.
Sales climbed 8.6 percent to $201.9 million from $185.9 million.
The latest quarter included a LIFO credit of $200,000 versus a LIFO charge of $1.1 million a year ago.
Tom Gould, chairman and chief executive officer, said the company “reestablished strong sales momentum and improved results” in the fourth quarter with the help of a more aggressive promotional strategy. Despite increased promotions, gross margins slipped only slightly, 35.5 percent against 35.6 percent.
Alan R. Raxter, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said future profits should benefit from gains in operating efficiencies and improvements in MIS systems, and distribution center operations.
In the year, earnings inched ahead 1.3 percent to $13.5 million, or $1.47, from $13.4 million, or $1.55, excluding a $1.1 million charge to retire debt in 1993. After the charge, 1993’s net was $12.3 million, or $1.55 a share.
The LIFO charge was reduced in the latest year to $900,000 from $2.2 million.
Per-share results reflect an increase in average shares outstanding to 9.2 million from 8.6 million.
Sales inched ahead 0.2 percent to $599.1 million from $597.9 million.
Carson Pirie Scott Inc. in early January made an unsolicited bid to buy Younkers for $150 million, or $17 a share, and has extended its tender offer to March 2. Shares of Younkers closed at 17 3/4, up 1/4 Monday, on the over-the-counter market.
Younkers operates 53 stores in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

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