To Our Shareholders:

We are responsible for the preparation, integrity and fair presentation of the Consolidated Financial Statements, related notes and other information included in this annual report. The financial statements were prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and include certain amounts based upon our estimates and assumptions, as required. Other financial information presented in the annual report is derived from the financial statements.

We maintain a system of internal control over financial reporting, designed to provide reasonable assurance as to the reliability of the financial statements, as well as to safeguard assets from unauthorized use or disposition. The system is supported by formal policies and procedures, including an active Code of Conduct program intended to ensure employees adhere to the highest standards of personal and professional integrity. Our internal audit function monitors and reports on the adequacy of and compliance with the internal control system, and appropriate actions are taken to address significant control deficiencies and other opportunities for improving the system as they are identified.

The financial statements have been audited and reported on by our independent auditors, KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, who were given free access to all financial records and related data, including minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors and Committees of the Board. We believe that management representations made to the independent auditors were valid and appropriate.

The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors, which is composed solely of outside directors, provides oversight to our financial reporting process and our controls to safeguard assets through periodic meetings with our independent auditors, internal auditors and management. Both our independent auditors and internal auditors have free access to the Audit Committee.

Although no cost-effective internal control system will preclude all errors and irregularities, we believe our controls as of December 27, 1997 provide reasonable assurance that our assets are reasonably safeguarded.

Robert C. Lowes
Chief Financial Officer

Back  |  Table of Contents Next