Montgomery Ward to Close 48 Underperforming Stores; Decision Focuses Turnaround Strategy on Core Group of Best Performing Stores

Oct 10, 1997, 01:00 ET from Montgomery Ward & Co., Incorporated

    CHICAGO, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Montgomery Ward & Co., Incorporated
 announced today that it has identified 48 underperforming store locations for
 closure as part of the retailer's strategy for returning to profitability.
 These store locations were identified after a store-by-store analysis of the
 Company's operations, and are geographically dispersed throughout the national
 chain.  These stores are in addition to the eight store closings previously
 announced this year.  The plan, which is subject to bankruptcy court approval,
 includes an exit from the Orlando, Fla. and Albany, N.Y. markets leaving
 Montgomery Ward with a core of 294 full line department stores.
     "In addition to not being focused on a core retail strategy, Wards
 suffered from having a number of outdated and otherwise underperforming
 locations and as such we have moved quickly to identify these stores and take
 the appropriate action, said Roger Goddu, Chairman and Chief Executive
 Officer."  "We believe that we can operate each of our remaining stores
 profitably through merchandise revitalization and a combination of margin
 enhancement, operational improvements and expense structure adjustments,
 including lease renegotiations.  However, in the ongoing stores, we will
 continue to closely monitor and evaluate Wards' performance on a store-by-
 store basis to ensure that every Wards location is providing measurable
 benefit to the Company overall."
     "We are beginning to see the positive impact of our new merchandising
 strategy and the operational improvements we have put in place.  When put
 together with the closure of our underperforming stores, we will have
 addressed several of the major areas that contributed to Montgomery Ward's
 decline," added Goddu.  "Now our focus is on the proper execution of our
 strategy and dramatic improvement in addressing our core customers' needs as
 we work to restore Wards reputation in the marketplace."
     The proposed restructuring would impact approximately 3,800 full and part-
 time associates.  Montgomery Ward will offer reassignment in other Montgomery
 Ward stores to as many associates as possible.  Those who are not offered or
 do not accept reassignment will be offered location shutdown benefits and
 outplacement assistance as appropriate.
     The store closings are subject to court approval, and are expected to be
 substantially completed by the end of December 1997.  Wards has already
 announced the closing of 44 Lechmere and Electric Avenue & More specialty
 stores earlier this year in addition to the eight Montgomery Ward stores
 previously mentioned.
     "The decision to close stores is never an easy one and we recognize the
 impact this has on the associates involved and on our customers.  However, we
 believe that moving swiftly to eliminate the source of a significant amount of
 Wards' losses and taking the related financial charges in fiscal 1997 will
 enable us to focus solely on the future growth of the business and our
 turnaround initiatives going forward," added Burnett Donoho, Vice Chairman and
 Chief Operating Officer of Montgomery Ward.  "We hope that many of our
 associates and customers can be accommodated in nearby Wards' locations.  We
 want to assure any affected customers that we will continue to honor
 Montgomery Ward warranties and extended warranties through our product service
 centers as well as our remaining retail locations.  Our goal is to make sure
 that every Wards' customer continues to be satisfied."
     Customers who have warranties or extended warranties may call the
 toll-free service number 1-800-905-9505 to obtain information on the nearest
 location for merchandise repairs.  Depending on the type of warranty in place,
 Montgomery Ward will either send a repair person to the customer's home or
 provide the customer with the ability to drop off the item needing repair at
 the nearest Montgomery Ward store or another convenient location.  Automotive
 service packages will be honored at any Montgomery Ward Auto Express location.
     Montgomery Ward is one of the largest privately held retailers in the
 United States.  Upon the completion of its announced store closings,
 Montgomery Ward will operate 294 full line stores in 37 states.
     (see list below)
                        Montgomery Ward Stores To Close
                          YEAR                               TOTAL      TOTAL
     STORE        STATE  OPENED        ADDRESS              SQ. FT.  ASSOCIATES
     Huntsville      AL  1959   Parkway City S/C,            76,100       72
                                2721 Memorial Parkway
     Glendale        AZ  1973   Valley West Mall,            16,000        9
      (Auto Express)            5849 W. Northern Ave.
     Glendale        AZ  1973   Valley West Mall,            111,400       21
                                5849 W. Northern Ave.
     Hawthorne       CA  1977   12000 Hawthorne Blvd.        155,900      113
     Long Beach      CA  1982   591 Long Beach Blvd.         121,000      101
     Oceanside       CA  1987   2505 Vista Way                52,700       43
     Victorville     CA  1990   12400 Amargosa Road           91,900       92
     Englewood       CO  1987   Cinderellla City S/C,        120,400       48
                                701 W. Hampton Ave.
     Fort Collins    CO  1963   Century 21 S/C,               66,100       69
                                2201 S. College Avenue
     Altamonte       FL  1986   130 E. Altamonte Drive       169,700       95
     Orlando         FL  1991   7531 S. Orange Blossom Tr.    93,500      104
     Orlando         FL  1986   2500 W. Colonial Drive       237,800      115
     St. Petersburg  FL  1959   101 34th Street N.            13,200        8
      (Auto Express)
     Tampa           FL  1976   Eastlake Sq. Mall,           157,700       94
                                5701 E. Hillsborough Ave.
     Lansing         IL  1991   16771 Torrence Ave.          101,300      110
     Mount Prospect  IL  1962   Randhurst Mall,              225,700      124
                                999 Elmhurst Road
     Naperville      IL  1992   404 S. Route 59              111,700       97
     Normal          IL  1980   College Hills Mall,           88,800       61
                                301 S. Veteran Pkwy.
     Waukegan        IL  1988   221 Lakehurst Road           123,400       96
     Indianapolis    IN  1990   6020 82 St.                   95,300       88
     Indianapolis    IN  1988   Lafayette Square,            144,300      107
      (Lafayette Square)        3919 Lafayette Road
     Indianapolis    IN  1988   Washington Sq. Mall,         136,600       96
      (Wash. Square)            10202 E. Washington St.
     Lanham          MD  1992   9361 Annapolis Road           26,400       11
     Detroit         MI  1994   21500 Northwestern Hwy, BC-2 125,200      112
     Harper Woods    MI  1993   Eastland Square S/C,         111,300      123
      (Eastland)                18000 Vernier Rd.
     Sterling Heights MI 1989   44925 Schoenherr Road        107,600       79
     Minneapolis     MN  1993   600 Nicolett Mall            111,500       78
     Robbinsdale     MN  1966   3535 W. Broadway             185,900       86
     St. Louis Park  MN  1979   Knollwood Plaza,             133,700       80
                                3620 Texas Avenue S.
     Kansas City     MO  1991   Benjamin Plaza,              121,600       96
                                8844 Hillcrest Road
     Omaha           NE  1967   707 N. 102 Street            148,300      108
     Bedford         NH  1977   Bedford Mall,                 83,900       70
                                South River Road
     Nashua          NH  1972   Nashua Mall, 150 Coliseum Rd. 95,800       87
     Newington       NH  1973   Newington Plaza,              95,100       61
                                Spaulding Tpke. & Gosling
     Santa Fe        NM  1970   600 N. Guadelupe              58,500       56
     Colonie         NY  1979   Northway Mall,               160,400      110
                                1440 Central Ave.
     Ithaca          NY  1976   Pyramid Mall,                 95,800       71
                                50 Catherwood Road
     Plattsburgh     NY  1975   Champlain Center S.,          75,600       81
                                459 Rte. 3-009
     Rome            NY  1963   Mohawk Acres S/C,             84,100       76
                                1790 Black River Blvd.
     Saratoga Springs NY 1976   Saratoga Mall,                97,700       85
                                Route 50 & Weibel Ave.
     Schenectady     NY  1970   Mohawk Mall,                 165,100      105
                                420 Balltown Road
     Dallas          TX  1961   800 Wynnewood Village        161,800       97
     Dallas          TX  1966   100 Northtown Mall           137,300       88
     Dallas          TX  1978   Prestonwood Mall,             14,600       11
      (Auto Express)            5402 Arapalo Road
     Irving          TX  1986   Plymouth Park S/C,            72,700       73
                                2802 W. Irving Park Blvd.
     Lynchburg       VA  1990   River Ridge Mall,            109,000       85
                                3405 Candlers Mountain Rd.
     Portsmouth      VA  1973   Tower Mall,                   16,000       12
      (Auto Express)            4000 Victory Blvd.
     Rutland         VT  1974   Rutland Mall, Woodstock Ave.  61,200       76
     Total Stores = 48

SOURCE Montgomery Ward & Co., Incorporated