Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc (NASDAQ: WLSN) today reported that sales for the five weeks ended July 1, 2000 increased 22.0% to $20.5 million compared to $16.8 million last year. Comparable store sales increased 7.4% compared to an 11.4% increase last year. Year-to-date sales increased 12.3% to $129.6 million from $115.4 million one year ago. Year-to-date comparable store sales increased 6.2% on top of a 10.5% increase for the same five-month period in 1999. Joel Waller, chairman and chief executive officer, commented: "We are very pleased with our 7.4% increase in June comparable store sales, which follows last year's 11.4% increase in June comparable store sales. We are encouraged with the continued strength of our business and the overall strong fashion trend in leather apparel, and are optimistic about our prospects for the remainder of the year." Wilsons Leather is the leading specialty retailer of leather outerwear, apparel and accessories in the United States. As of July 1, 2000, Wilsons Leather operated 545 retail stores in 44 states, Canada and England, including 449 mall stores, 67 outlet stores, and 29 airport locations. The company, which regularly supplements its permanent mall stores with temporary holiday stores during its peak selling season from October through December, operated 249 of these stores in 1999. Additionally, the company's e-commerce site at