Stage Stores Inc. reported that comparable store sales decreased 3.1%. Last year’s comparable store sales for the same period increased 8.9%. Total sales increased 0.8% to $72.2 million from $71.6 million in the prior year period.

The Company reported that its dresses, home & gifts and shoe departments had comparable store sales increases during the month, and its intimate apparel, men’s and misses sportswear departments performed better than the Company average.

Jim Scarborough, chairman, president and chief executive officer, commented, “Although still negative, our comparable store sales results for June represented a significant improvement in the year-over-year trend as compared to last month’s performance. While we see this trend as encouraging, the mix of business during June remained the same as last month, with a higher percentage of sales comprised of sale and clearance merchandise compared to the prior year. This demonstrates that we are still operating in a weak economic environment which continues to put pressure on merchandise margins.”

                             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
       May             (6.6)              8.8          65.0      66.9
      June             (3.1)              8.9          72.2      71.6
 2nd Qtr-To-Date       (4.8)              8.9         137.2     138.5
  Year-To-Date         (6.4)              7.7         335.2     345.2

In addition to reporting sales, the Company announced that it will open four new stores on July 24th. The new stores will be located in Burkburnett, Texas, Baton Rouge, La., Nogales, Ariz., and Rolla, Mo.