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Bed Bath brings store size down slightly

Union, NJ — Bed Bath & Beyond during the third quarter focused on opening smaller stores with a more regional focus, executives said during the retailer's quarterly conference call yesterday evening. The 55 new stores opened during the third quarter averaged 27,000 square feet each.

"We continue to size new stores to better meet the needs of the specific markets served, which result in stores that are smaller on average than in prior years," said Leonard Feinstein, co-chairman and co-ceo.

Fiscal year 2002 will yield 95 new stores, instead of the 88 previously announced because some of the units planned for fiscal 2003 opened earlier than expected. The company's Harmon Discount drugstore division also added its 29th unit during the quarter. "We continue to regularly explore other opportunities, recognizing that we have the capital and the organization to do so," said Feinstein.

Meanwhile, the company reported net earnings of $75.1 million in the fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 30, an increase of approximately 41.8 percent from the $53.0 million earned in the fiscal third quarter of 2001.

Net sales for the fiscal third quarter of 2002 were $936.0 million, an increase of approximately 23.3 percent from net sales of $759.4 million in the fiscal third quarter of 2001.

Comps in the fiscal third quarter of 2002 grew by approximately 8 percent, compared with an increase of approximately 5.8 percent in last year's fiscal third quarter.

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