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The Spiegel Group 4th Qtr. 2001

From: ASAP


The Spiegel Group today reported sales of $447.8 million for the five weeks ended December 29, 2001, a 17 percent decrease from sales of $537.1 million for the five weeks ended December 30, 2000.

For the 52 weeks ended December 29, 2001, total sales declined 9 percent to $2.782 billion from $3.061 billion in the same period last year.

The company also reported that comparable-store sales for its Eddie Bauer division decreased 21 percent for the five-week period and 15 percent for the 52-week period ended December 29, 2001.

The Group's sales results by division for the month of December include a decline of 18 percent at Eddie Bauer, 30 percent at Newport News and 8 percent at Spiegel.

Commenting on the sales results for its Newport News division, the company stated that strong customer demand to its non-holiday catalogs was more than offset by weak response to catalogs with a holiday theme and, in particular, to holiday attire.

For the full year ended December 29, 2001, sales declined 9 percent at Eddie Bauer, 6 percent at Newport News and 12 percent at Spiegel.

Sales from the Group's e-commerce channel continued to grow during the month, posting an increase of 20 percent. Total direct sales declined 16 percent and the Group's retail store sales decreased 17 percent.

The company noted that despite sluggish sales, inventories at December 29, 2001, were down 17 percent compared to year-end 2000. Anticipating a challenging retail environment, the company took a conservative approach in its inventory commitments in planning for the holiday season.

Commenting on its earnings expectations for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2001, the company stated that earnings for both periods will be materially below current published analysts' estimates due to lower than expected sales results for the fourth quarter and, more significantly, further deterioration in the performance of its credit card business.

The Spiegel Group is a leading international specialty retailer marketing fashionable apparel and home furnishings to customers through catalogs, more than 600 specialty retail and outlet stores and eight e-commerce sites, including eddiebauer.com, newport-news.com and spiegel.com. The Spiegel Group's businesses include Eddie Bauer, Newport News, Spiegel and First Consumers National Bank. The company's Class A Non-Voting Common Stock trades on the NASDAQ National Market System under the ticker symbol: SPGLA. Investor relations information is available on The Spiegel Group Web site (thespiegelgroup.com).

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