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Garden Ridge turns in strong June

HOUSTON — Comp sales at Garden Ridge Corporation increased 15 percent versus July 2003; the highest comp-store increase in over four years. The second quarter finished with a 3 percent comp, the first quarter with a positive increase since 2000, stated the company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.

"Our customer responded extremely well to promotions of summer merchandise, our expansion into furniture and housewares, and our early receipts of fall and Halloween merchandise," said Jack Lewis, CEO of Garden Ridge.

The company also secured a seasonal increase in its DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing from its lenders. This additional financing will be used to build up inventory for the fall and holiday 2004 seasons, according to Garden Ridge. "This capital ensures that we will have all of the inventory we need to fuel the positive sales momentum we now have," said Lewis.

Garden Ridge also stated it has reached verbal agreements on 11 leases to be formally amended and announced in the next couple of weeks. These will be in addition to the four leases that have already been amended.

"The lease renegotiations accelerated considerably during July, as more landlords are coming to us to negotiate in good faith," said Lewis. "We have been inundated with offers from our current landlords as well as landlords of attractive vacant stores and are in the process of evaluating these offers. We are committed to staying in all of the markets in which we operate today and paying fair market rent so that Garden Ridge can compete successfully."

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