Stage Stores Inc. reported that comparable store sales for the four-week period ended Aug. 30, 2003 decreased 7.3% as compared to the prior year four-week period ended Aug. 31, 2002, during which comparable store sales increased 4.5%. Total sales decreased 4.0% to $71.5 million from $74.5 million in the prior year period.

The Company stated that its home & gifts department had a comparable store sales increase during the month, and its accessories, children's, cosmetics, misses sportswear and shoes departments performed better than the Company average.

Jim Scarborough, chairman, president and chief executive officer, commented, “We are disappointed with our overall sales results for August. However, in analyzing our performance, we began the month with reduced levels of spring and summer clearance merchandise versus last year. Since last year's 4.5% comparable stores sales increase was largely a result of our efforts to reduce our excess levels of clearance merchandise, our lower levels of clearance merchandise this year had a significant impact on our year-over-year sales results. Additionally, our sales during our Labor Day sale event were significantly below last year due to a change in our advertising media, which adversely impacted our sales performance.”

                             SALES SUMMARY

                    Comparable Store Sales Trend      Total Sales
                        % Increase (Decrease)       ($ in Millions)
                        ---------------------       ---------------
   Fiscal Period        2003            2002        2003        2002
   -------------        ----            ----        ----        ----
    1st Quarter         (7.5)%           7.0%     $198.0      $206.7
    2nd Quarter         (3.5)            6.5       207.7       207.5
       August           (7.3)            4.5        71.5        74.5
    Year-To-Date        (5.8)            6.4       477.2       488.7

In addition to reporting sales, the Company reiterated its plans to open 13 new stores during the third quarter. Seven of the stores will be opened in Texas, while five of the stores will be opened in Louisiana and the remaining store will be opened in New Mexico.