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CORPORATE EARNINGS

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., a home-furnishing retailer, said fiscal second-quarter profit rose 31 percent, boosted by back-to-school sales of textiles and housewares. Net income rose to $43.6 million, or 15 cents a share, in the quarter ended Aug. 26, from $33.2 million, or 12 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 30 percent to $597 million from $457.6 million.

Paychex Inc., Rochester-based payroll services firm, announced record net income of $58.6 million, or 16 cents per share, for the quarter ended Aug. 31, a 36 percent increase over net income of $43.0 million, or 12 cents per share, for the same period last year. Total service revenues were $203.9 million, an increase of 23 percent over $166.4 million for the first quarter last year. B. Thomas Golisano, chairman, president and CEO, "Fiscal 2001 is off to a very good start as growth of our client base, increased utilization of ancillary services and leveraging of our infrastructure continue to generate excellent results."

ConAgra Inc. said net income increased 44 percent in its fiscal first quarter to $146 million. For the quarter ended Aug. 27, the company earned 30 cents per share, compared with $102 million, or 21 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Last year's results for the quarter included a $47.1 million restructuring charge. Quarterly revenue grew 3 percent to $6.8 billion.

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