Brick Group announces suspension of distributions in light of economic uncertainty


    EDMONTON, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - (TSX: BRK.UN): The Brick Group Income Fund (the
"Brick Group") today announced that as a result of the continued deterioration
in economic conditions and the uncertain outlook for 2009, it has suspended
its monthly distribution payments.
    "While our confidence in the fundamentals of our business remains strong,
management and the Board of Trustees believe it is prudent to act now to
preserve cash," said Kim Yost, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The
strength of our business model notwithstanding, the continuing global economic
and financial uncertainty affecting consumer confidence and the continuing
deterioration of economic conditions is imposing operating challenges for
2009. While we will continue to implement initiatives that reduce and control
costs, we also intend to take advantage of our strengths to increase market
share during these difficult times. The distribution suspension will better
enable the Brick Group to pursue growth initiatives that confirm its position
as one of Canada's largest volume retailers of household furniture,
mattresses, appliances and home electronics," said Mr. Yost.
    The monthly cash distribution of $0.05 per unit declared on January 21,
2009, was paid on February 16, 2009. The suspension of further distributions
is effective February 18, 2009.
    Although the Brick Group has not yet finalized its fourth quarter and
2008 year-end financial statements, preliminary unaudited results indicate
that on a year-to-date basis, the Brick Group anticipates reporting same store
sales growth of negative 3.6%. Adjusted EBITDA for the year, before any
potential impairment charges as discussed below, is anticipated to be $75.0
million, which represents a decrease of 16.5% over 2007.
    The Brick Group is in the process of performing its annual assessment of
goodwill and intangible assets to determine whether an impairment charge will
be necessary for 2008 as a result of the current economic climate. The amount
of any impairment will be announced when the Brick Group releases its 2008
results and audited consolidated financial statements on March 17, 2009.
    The Board of Trustees is also continuing its comprehensive review of
strategic alternatives for the Brick Group, including the possible conversion
from an income fund to a corporation, as previously announced on November 4,
2008. The Brick Group expects to have an update for investors with the
scheduled release of its year-end results.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    Certain forward-looking statements are made in this news release, within
the meaning of applicable securities laws. In particular, statements regarding
its review of strategic initiatives, including a possible conversion
transaction, and statements regarding its preliminary 2008 year end financial
statements, constitute forward-looking statements. These statements reflect
the Brick Group's current expectations and are based on information currently
available to management. The words "may", "will", "should", "believe",
"expect, "plan", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate", "predict", "potential",
"continue", or the negative of these terms, identify forward-looking matters.
These statements speak only as of the date of this press release. The actual
results could differ materially from those anticipated in these
forward-looking statements.
    Reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because they
involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may
cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Brick Group to
differ materially from anticipated future results, performance or achievement
expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Reference should also
be had to the risks and uncertainties detailed in the section entitled "Risk
Factors" in the Brick Group's Annual Information Form and its Management's
Discussion and Analysis. The preceding list is not an exhaustive list of
possible risk factors. These and other factors should be considered carefully
and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking
statements. The Brick Group undertakes no obligation to publicly update or
revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise, other than as required by applicable law.

    Non-GAAP Financial Measures

    References to "adjusted EBITDA" are to earnings before interest, income
taxes and amortization, adjusted to remove the impact of purchase accounting.
Management of the Brick Group believes that adjusted EBITDA is a useful
financial measure as it represents a starting point in the determination of
cash available for distribution to unitholders. Adjusted EBITDA is not an
earnings measure recognized by GAAP and does not have standardized meanings
prescribed by GAAP. Therefore, adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to
similar measures presented by other issuers. Investors are cautioned that
adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as an alternative to net income as
determined in accordance with GAAP, as an indicator of performance or to cash
flows from operating, investing and financing activities as measures of
liquidity and cash flows.

    About The Brick Group

    The Brick Group, together with its subsidiaries, is one of Canada's
largest volume retailers of household furniture, mattresses, appliances and
home electronics, operating under four principal banners: The Brick, United
Furniture Warehouse, The Brick Superstore and The Brick Mattress Store. In
addition, through its corporate sales division, The Brick Group services the
subdivision, condominium, and high-rise builder market. The Brick Group's
retail operations are located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan,
Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
and the Yukon Territory.

For further information:

For further information: Kim Yost, President and CEO, The Brick Group,
(780) 930-6300,; Nick Bobrow, Chief Financial
Officer, The Brick Group, (780) 930-6300,

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