IRI PLANS MORE LAYOFFS DUE TO P&G ACCOUNT LOSS

But Research Firm Reports Profit for First Quarter

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Market research firm Information Resources Inc. is reducing head count by another 7% or more than 260 people, primarily through layoffs due to the loss of scanner data business from Procter & Gamble Co., the company's top executive said on a conference call today.

Second layoff
Chairman-CEO Joseph Durrett said the workforce reduction also owes to technology and efficiency improvements. The layoffs come on top of a 5% workforce reduction announced last December.

Mr. Durrett said IRI's "exploration

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of strategic options," which includes possible sale of the company in part or in whole, is on track. "There appears to be good interest," he said, regarding possible acquirers or partners, adding that the process "should take another couple of months."

IRI announced in February it had retained William Blair & Co., Chicago.

Reports a profit
IRI reported first-quarter net income of $260,000 or 1 cent per share, compared with a net loss of $9.4 million or 32 cents a share a year ago. First-quarter results last year included a charge of $7.1 million due to an accounting change for goodwill and a $5.3 million restructuring charge. First-quarter revenues were 3% higher than the first-quarter of 2002, aided in large part by decline of the dollar against the euro. U.S. revenues of $100.2 million were flat vs. the prior year. Revenues for the U.S. retail tracking business, which makes up about 70% of U.S. revenue, were down 2%, but the decline was offset by a 9% increase in IRI's analytic and panel business.

Mr. Durrett said IRI has eight of its 10 largest clients under contract through 2005 and expects to sign extensions with the other two soon. IRI did not, however, provide detailed guidance for revenues and earnings for the full year, including the third and fourth quarters, when the loss of P&G's business will kick in.

Some praise
IRI's ability to earn a profit in the first quarter despite other 2002 client losses, however, earned praise from one critical IRI investor, Robert L. Chapman, who heads the Chap-Cap hedge fund and who has called on IRI's board to sell the company or fire Mr. Durrett.

"I thought the quarter was relatively impressive," Mr. Chapman said on the conference call. "I'm looking forward to reading the 10-Q of course, but I congratulate you for what appears on the surface to be a good quarter."

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