The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. (Nasdaq:EBSC) today reported flat earnings for the 13 weeks ended April 29, 2000, excluding $4.7 million of one-time pre-tax store closing expenses. Basic and diluted earnings per share, excluding one-time store closing expenses, equaled $0.00, compared to loss of $0.01 for the first quarter of 1999. Total revenues rose 1.4 percent to $148.9 million for the quarter. As previously reported, total sales for the period increased to $141.6 million, up 1.4 percent over last year, and comparable sales for the quarter decreased 1.2 percent. Frederick J. Mershad, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are pleased with our improved first quarter earnings results. We achieved our earnings expectations with improved gross margin and disciplined expense control." Mershad continued, "While we continue to evaluate strategic options, we are also focused on initiatives to strengthen the business and improve shareholder value for any possible outcome of our evaluation process. During the first quarter we announced several important initiatives, including:Our second concept store for 2000 in West Bend, Wisconsin, which, along with the Howell, Michigan store, will open in the fall. The spring closing of two underperforming stores.An innovative proprietary point of sale system to bring better, more efficient service to our customers.Rollout of the centralized cash wrap service centers featured in our new concept stores to half of our existing stores.And the $300 million renewal of our credit facilities." The conference call to discuss the first quarter results will be publicly available over the Internet at at 11:00 a.m. today. A taped replay of the conference call will be available on demand at