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Universe Grp. (UNG)

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Friday 26 October, 2001

Universe Grp.

Trading Statement

Universe Group PLC
25 October 2001

UNIVERSE GROUP PLC

25 October 2001



TRADING UPDATE



Universe Group, the retail and information systems company, reports that Group
sales during the third quarter to 30 September 2001 amounted to £17.7m
compared to £13.8m in the same period of last year, an increase of 28.6%.
Sales for the nine months to 30 September 2001 therefore show an increase of
27.3% on those for the same period of last year, being £45.4m compared to £
35.7m.



Unaudited group operating profit (before amortisation of goodwill) in the
third quarter was £1,029,000 compared to £829,000 an increase of 24.1%.  After
interest charges and tax, the 'headline' earnings per share (see note 1 below)
for the nine months is 4.9 pence as compared to 5.0 pence for the whole of
last year.



The negative effects of recent terrorist activity are restraining the rate of
growth in the Master Change Bureaux de change business, but the Board remain
confident that group profit for the full year will still be comfortably ahead
of last year.  In arriving at this view, the Board has taken account of the
fact that the key summer trading period for Master Change is now complete.



Master Change has twelve shops in tourist locations in Paris, its most
important market.  There is evidence of sharp reduction in the numbers of
American and other visitors to the City.  In the first twenty-one days of
October the number of transactions completed by Master Change in Paris was up
by 7.2%.  However, on a like - for - like basis i.e without the benefit of new
shops opened since October 2000, transaction numbers would have been down in
the 21-day period by 17.0%.  Details of transaction number changes are shown
in note 2.



The performance of the Group's other operations, at HTEC and First Remit,
continues to be in line with management's earlier expectations.



Universe Group plc



Ray Mackie            Chairman              020 7486 9074

Nick Scott-Kilvert    Company Secretary     020 7287 0888


Note 1



Headline earnings per share is operating profit, before amortisation of
goodwill and exceptional items, less interest and tax divided by the weighted
average 28,820,000 shares in issue during the nine month period, compared to a
weighted average of 28,133,000 during last year.



Note 2



The Master Change transaction numbers in Paris in the second half of September
and first three weeks of October have been:


                      All Shops           Shops open in both periods

                      Transactions        Transactions

17 Sept - 23 Sept     +9.2%               -17.1%
24 Sept - 30 Sept     +3.6%               -20.6%
1 Oct - 7 Oct         +7.5%               -17.9%
8 Oct - 14 Oct        +5.0%               -19.0%
15 Oct - 21 Oct       +9.3%               -13.9%