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O'Reilly sales skyrocket via Hi-Lo acquisition of 1998

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O'Reilly Automotive Inc. announced Jan. 25 its 1998 performance, recording O'Reilly same-store product sales up 7.8 percent for the year and increased 10.1 percent for the fourth quarter, both ending Dec. 31.

Overall product sales were up 94.8 percent to $616.3 million, comparing 1998 to 1997. The increased sales reflect the acquisition of Hi-Lo Automotive Inc. O'Reilly acquired the Texas-based Hi-Lo Jan. 31, 1998.

Hi-Lo comparable-store sales increased 5.4 percent for 1998 and were up 17.5 percent for the fourth quarter, compared to 1997 periods. Combined results of comparable-store product sales increased 6.8 percent for the year and 13.3 percent for the fourth quarter.

"We are extremely pleased with the 1998 fourth quarter and year-end comparable-store product sales increases," said David O'Reilly, president and chief executive officer, in a release. "The fourth-quarter sales were strengthened by the extended, below-normal temperatures in most of our markets during December."

O'Reilly opened a net 50 new stores in 1998, 14 of which were opened during the fourth quarter. Those stores are apart from the 182 stores added in Texas and Louisiana with the Hi-Lo acquisition. A distribution center in Houston, Texas, was also part of the purchase.

"We plan to open 80 new stores in 1999 and approximately 100 new stores in 2000 as part of our growth plans," O'Reilly said. "Included in the 1999 growth are 10 stores and a 48,000-square-foot distribution center we plan to acquire from Hinojosa Auto Parts in April 1999."

O'Reilly stock, traded on the NASDAQ market under the symbol ORLY, closed Jan. 27 at $50.625 per share.

DT Industries Inc

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DT Industries Inc. reported expectation of second-quarter earnings of 10 cents to 12 cents per diluted share. Its actual results for the quarter that ended Dec. 27 are expected in the second week of February.

Net sales are expected to be about $110 million for the quarter. That compares to net sales of $132.4 million in the 1997 second quarter, when earnings per diluted share were 66 cents.

"Revenues in the quarter were less than expectations as we continued to be affected by delays in orders from several significant Automation Group customers," said Stephen J. Gore, president and CEO, in a release.

He said projects in the company's September backlog had delays that affected second-quarter revenue. Those delays, Gore said, were due to customer product-development issues that he said will be resolved soon.

"We also have experienced considerable and unacceptable cost overruns and revenue shortfalls in the plastics division of our Packaging Group," Gore said. "We have restructured the management team to accelerate implementation of project management procedures we believe are necessary to turn this operation around."

A company release said gross margins in the quarter were adversely affected by cost overruns at some Automation Group facilities and lower manufacturing efficiencies because of the lower level of activity.

"We are disappointed in our second-quarter results," Gore said. "We remain cautiously optimistic that strong order prospects in the coming months, as well as operational changes, will lead to improved operating results in future quarters. It is difficult, however, to project the timing of the release of specific major projects."

DT Industries, traded on the NASDAQ market under the symbol DTII, closed Jan. 27 at $13.50, down 25 cents.

Great Southern Bancorp Inc

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Great Southern Bancorp. Inc. Jan. 22 reported preliminary earnings of $3.5 million, or 45 cents per share, for its second quarter, ended Dec. 31. The figures compare to $3.6 million and 44 cents per share earned in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 1997.

For its short fiscal year that ended at the same time, the holding company for Great Southern Bank reported earnings of $7.4 million, or 92 cents per share, compared to the $7.5 million, or 91 cents per share, the company earned in the comparable period of 1997.

In a release, Chairman and CEO William V. Turner said the earnings were attributable to increased net interest income, increased loan volume and a strong net interest margin. In addition, Turner pointed to increased non-interest income from fees on deposit accounts and electronic transactions, as well as increased travel agency commission from acquisitions.

The bank's total assets on Dec. 31 were more than $835 million, up 12 percent; net loans receivable were up 13 percent to $705 million and total deposits were $602 million, up 30 percent.

The company is traded on the NASDAQ market under the symbol GSBC. Its stock closed Jan. 27 at $24.25, up 25 cents.

John Q. Hammons Hotels Inc.

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John Q. Hammons Hotels Inc. will manage under contract five new hotels to begin construction in 1999.

John Q. Hammons announced Jan. 27 he would build hotels in Lincoln, Neb., Franklin, Tenn., Richardson, Texas, Concord, N.C., and Albuquerque, N.M.

Four of the hotels will be Embassy Suites and the fifth is a Renaissance Hotel. The Lincoln property has begun construction and each of the others is scheduled to begin construction between May and October.

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