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<PAGE>

                          SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
                                WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

                                      Form 10-Q


[ x ]  Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities 
Exchange Act of 1934 for the quarterly period ended March 31, 1997.

[   ]  Transition report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities 
Exchange Act of 1934 for the transition period from ________ to ________.

Commission file number 0-27824

                           PIA MERCHANDISING SERVICES, INC.
                (Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

               Delaware                                       33-0684451
      (State or other jurisdiction of                      (I.R.S. Employer 
       incorporation or organization)                      Identification No.)
                

                  19900 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 900, Irvine, CA 92612
                       (Address of principal executive offices)

                                    (714) 476-2200
                 (Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

                                    NOT APPLICABLE
                (Former name, former address and former fiscal year, 
                             if changed since last report)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required
to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during
the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was
required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing
requirements for the past 90 days: [ X ] Yes     [   ] No

Applicable only to corporate issuers:

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer's classes of
stock, as of the latest practicable date.

Common Stock, $.01 Par Value: 5,899,558 shares as of April 30, 1997.


                                        1


<PAGE>
                           PIA Merchandising Services, Inc.



PART I:             FINANCIAL INFORMATION                        PAGE 


     Item 1:  Financial Statements 

                  Condensed Consolidated Balance 
                  Sheets as of March 31, 1997 (Unaudited) 
                  and December 31, 1996

                  Condensed Consolidated Statements of 
                  Income for the Three Months Ended 
                  March 31, 1997 (Unaudited) and
                  March 31, 1996  (Unaudited)

                  Condensed Consolidated Statements of 
                  Cash Flows for the Three Months Ended
                  March 31, 1997 (Unaudited) and 
                  March 31, 1996 (Unaudited)

                  Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial 

                  Statements


     Item 2:      Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial 
                  Condition and Results of Operations

                  Risk Factors


PART II:          OTHER INFORMATION


     Item 6:      Exhibits and Reports on Form 8-K


SIGNATURES


                                        2


<PAGE>


PART I:           FINANCIAL INFORMATION

PIA MERCHANDISING SERVICES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(In Thousands)

                                                March 31,        December 31,
                                                  1997               1996
                                                ---------        ------------
                                               (Unaudited)
                         ASSETS
CURRENT ASSETS:
Cash and cash equivalents                        $21,791           $ 19,519
Accounts receivable, net of allowance        
    for doubtful accounts                         18,914             22,630
Prepaid expenses and other current assets          1,416                564
Deferred income taxes                                669                669
                                                ---------        ------------
    Total current assets                          42,790             43,382

PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT, net                        1,783              1,847

OTHER ASSETS                                       2,688              2,443
                                                ---------        ------------
                                                 $47,261            $47,672
                                                ---------        ------------
                                                ---------        ------------

    LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY

CURRENT LIABILITIES:
Accounts payable                               $     823          $     772
Other current liabilities                         10,517              9,762
Income taxes payable                                   0                111
                                                --------          -----------
    Total current liabilities                     11,340             10,645

DEFERRED INCOME TAXES                                309                309

STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY                              35,612             36,718
                                                ---------        ------------
                                                 $47,261            $47,672
                                                ---------        ------------
                                                ---------        ------------


                               See accompanying notes.


                                        3


<PAGE>

PIA MERCHANDISING SERVICES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(In thousands, except per share amounts) 
(Unaudited)

                                          For the Three Months Ended March 31,
                                          ------------------------------------
                                                1997                1996
                                                ----                ----
                                             
NET REVENUES                                  $29,356              $26,259

OPERATING EXPENSES:
Field service costs                            26,369               20,264

Selling expenses                                2,554                2,655

General and administrative expenses             2,449                1,740

Depreciation and amortization                     197                  147
                                             --------              -------
    Total operating expenses                   31,569               24,806
                                             --------              -------
OPERATING INCOME (LOSS)                        (2,213)               1,453
                                             --------              -------
OTHER INCOME:

INTEREST INCOME, NET                              231                   43

EQUITY IN EARNINGS OF AFFILIATE                    24                    0
                                             --------              -------
TOTAL OTHER INCOME                                255                   43
                                             --------              -------
INCOME BEFORE PROVISION FOR
    INCOME TAXES                               (1,958)               1,496

(PROVISION) BENEFIT FOR INCOME TAXES              790                 (599)
                                             --------              -------
NET INCOME (LOSS)                            $ (1,168)            $    897
                                             --------              -------
                                             --------              -------
NET INCOME (LOSS) PER COMMON AND 
 COMMON EQUIVALENT SHARE                    $  ( 0.19)            $   0.18
                                             --------              -------
                                             --------              -------
WEIGHTED AVERAGE COMMON AND
    COMMON EQUIVALENT SHARES                    6,109                4,932
                                             --------              -------
                                             --------              -------

                              See accompanying notes.


                                        4


<PAGE>

PIA MERCHANDISING SERVICES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
                                          For the Three Months Ended March 31,
                                          ------------------------------------
                                                1997                1996
                                                ----                ----

CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:
Net income (Loss)                              (1,168)            $    897
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net
    cash provided by (used in) operating 
    activities:

    Depreciation and amortization                 197                  147
    Provision for doubtful receivables            330                   76
Changes in operating assets and liabilities     2,941               (1,161)
                                             --------              -------
    Net cash (used in) provided by
        operating activities                    2,300                  (41)

CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:
    Capital expenditures                          (91)                 (63)

CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:
Payments of long term debt                          0               (3,400)

Proceeds from issuance of common stock, net        63               26,753
                                             --------              -------
    Net cash provided by financing activities      63               23,353
                                             --------              -------
NET INCREASE IN CASH
AND CASH EQUIVALENTS                            2,272               23,249

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, 
beginning of period                            19,519                  185
                                             --------              -------
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, 
end of period                                $ 21,791             $ 23,434
                                             --------              -------
                                             --------              -------

SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLOSURES OF CASH
FLOW INFORMATION:
    Cash paid for interest                   $      0             $     69

    Cash paid for income taxes               $     86             $    320 

                                 See accompanying notes.


                                        5

<PAGE>

PIA Merchandising Services, Inc. and Subsidiaries

Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements

(Unaudited)

The Three Months Ended March 31, 1997

1.   Basis of Presentation

     The accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements 
     have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting 
     principles for interim financial information and with the instructions 
     to Form 10-Q and Article 10 of Regulation S-X.  Accordingly, they do not 
     include all of the information and footnotes required by generally 
     accepted accounting principles for complete financial statements.  In 
     the opinion of management, all adjustments (consisting of normal 
     recurring accruals) considered necessary for a fair presentation have 
     been included.  This financial information should be read in conjunction 
     with the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto for the 
     year ended December 31, 1996, included in the Company's Annual Report on 
     Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1996.  Operating results for 
     the three month period ended March 31, 1997 are not necessarily 
     indicative of the results that may be expected for the year ending 
     December 31, 1997.

2.   The Financial Accounting Standards Board recently issued Statement of 
     Financial Accounting Standards No. 128 "Earnings Per Share," which is 
     effective for financial statements for both interim and annual periods 
     ending after December 15, 1997. Early adoption of the statement is not
     permitted. The company has applied this statement to the 1996 first 
     quarter and annual results and to the 1997 first quarter results and 
     determined that the adoption of this statement would not have had a 
     material impact on the earnings per share calculations for these periods.

I
tem 2 - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results
of Operations

Overview

PIA Merchandising Services, Inc. (the "Company" or "PIA") provides 
merchandising services to manufacturers and retailers principally in grocery, 
mass merchandiser and chain and deep discount drug stores.  For the quarters 
ended March 31, 1997 and 1996, the Company generated approximately 90.0% and 
87.0% of its net revenues from manufacturer clients, and 10.0% and 13.0% from 
retailer clients, respectively.  The mix of the Company's business between 
manufacturer and retailer clients historically has not had a material impact 
on the Company's cash flows or results of operations.

The Company currently provides three principal types of services:  syndicated 
services, project services and dedicated services.  Syndicated services 
consist of regularly scheduled, routed merchandising services provided at the 
store level for manufacturers, primarily under one year contracts.  Project 
services consist primarily of special in-store services initiated by 
retailers and manufacturers, which are typically used for large scale 
implementations over 30 to 60 days.  Dedicated services consist of 
merchandising services that are performed for a specific retailer or 
manufacturer by a dedicated organization, primarily under multi-year 
contracts.


                                        6


<PAGE>

During 1996 and the first quarter of 1997, the Company's profitability was 
affected by a shift in its business from syndicated services to projects and 
dedicated services.  The Company's syndicated services business has 
historically required a significant fixed management and personnel 
infrastructure. Due in part to industry consolidation and increased 
competition, the Company lost a number of syndicated services clients during 
1996 and the first quarter of 1997, causing a decrease in the profitability 
of that business in the last two quarters of 1996 and the first quarter of 
1997.  PIA has not sold any sizable new syndicated business to compensate for 
this loss.  The Company believes that revenues in the balance of 1997 from 
syndicated services will continue to decline as a result of the wind-down of 
the lost business.  Because of the fixed nature of the associated costs, the 
loss of syndicated business has a material adverse effect on PIA's results of 
operations.  

The Company continues to experience a significant increase in the demand for 
project services.  PIA's project revenues have grown from $7.9 in the first 
quarter of 1996 to $9.0 in the first quarter of 1997. This increase has 
required an investment in management infrastructure and systems to support 
this business.

The Company's dedicated services business is also growing rapidly.  During 
the first quarter of 1997, revenues from dedicated services accounted for 
26.8% of total revenues, as compared to 7.1% in the first quarter of 1996.  
In the dedicated services business, PIA provides each manufacturer or 
retailer client with an organization, including a management team, that works 
exclusively for that client.

PIA's quarterly results of operations are subject to certain variability 
related to the timing of retailer-mandated activity and the receipt of 
commissions. Retailer-mandated activity is typically higher in the second and 
third quarters of the year due to retailer scheduling of activity in off-peak 
shopping periods. In addition, new product introductions increase during such 
periods which require the reset of categories as the new products gain 
distribution.  The amount of commissions earned by PIA under its 
commission-based contracts varies seasonally, and generally corresponds to 
the peak selling seasons of the clients that have entered into these types of 
contracts.  Historically, the Company has recognized greater commission 
income in the first and fourth quarters.  See "Risk Factors -- Uncertainty of 
Commission Income."  The Company's quarterly results have in the past been 
subject to fluctuations and, thus, the operating results for any quarter are 
not necessarily indicative of results for any future period.


                                        7


<PAGE>

Results of Operations - First Quarter of  1997 Compared to First Quarter of 
1996:

The following table sets forth certain financial data as a percentage of net
revenues for the periods indicated:

                                                   Three Months Ended March 31,
                                                   ----------------------------
                                                       1997           1996
                                                       ----           ----
Net revenues                                           100%             100%
Operating expenses:
Field service costs                                   89.8             77.2 
Selling expenses                                       8.7             10.1
General and administrative expenses                    8.3              6.6
Depreciation and amortization                          0.7              0.6
                                                      -----           -----
   Total operating expenses                          107.5             94.5
                                                      -----           -----
Operating income    (loss)                            (7.5)             5.5
Interest income, net                                   0.8              0.2 
Equity in earnings of affiliate                        0.1              0.0
                                                      -----           -----
Income (loss) before provision for income taxes       (6.6)             5.7 
(Provision) benefit for income taxes                   2.7             (2.3)
                                                      -----           -----
Net income (loss)                                     (3.9)%            3.4% 
                                                      -----           -----
                                                      -----           -----

Net revenues increased $3.1 million, or 11.8%, to $29.4 million in the first 
quarter of 1997 from $26.3 in the first quarter 1996.  The increase in net 
revenues was the result of revenues from new clients of $9.1 million, offset 
by a net decrease from other clients of $6.0 million.  This net decrease is 
comprised of a net decrease in revenues of $.4 million from existing clients, 
and a decline in revenues of $5.6 million due to client losses.

The net revenue increase in the first quarter of 1997 was a result of an 
increase in project business of $1.1 million, representing a 14.4% increase 
in project revenues over the first quarter of 1996, and from an increase in 
dedicated services of $6.0 million, representing a 421.0% increase in 
dedicated service revenue over the first quarter of 1996.  These increases 
were offset by a decrease of $4.0 million, or 24.1%, in revenues from 
syndicated services over the first quarter of 1996.

Field service costs increased $6.1 million, or 30.1%, to $26.4 million in the 
first quarter of 1997, as compared to $20.3 million in the first quarter of 
1996. Field service costs are comprised principally of field labor and 
related costs and expenses required to provide both routed and dedicated 
coverage, project activities, key account management and related technology 
costs, as well as the field overhead required to support the activities of 
these groups of employees. The increase in field service costs is primarily 
due to increases in revenues from dedicated and project services.  As a 
percentage of net revenues, field service costs increased to 89.8% in the 
first quarter of 1997 from 77.2% in the first quarter of 1996 primarily due 
to the negative leverage caused by the loss of syndicated services business; 
salary increases in the ordinary course of business; and increased travel 
costs associated with the larger work force.

                                        8


<PAGE>

Selling expenses decreased $0.1 million, or 3.8%, to $2.6 million in the 
first quarter of 1997 from $2.7 million in the first quarter of 1996.  
Selling expenses decreased primarily as a result of lower staffing and travel 
costs.  As a percentage of net revenues, selling expenses decreased to 8.7% 
in the first quarter of 1997 from 10.1% in the first quarter of 1996.

General and administrative expenses increased $0.7 million, or 40.7%, to $2.4 
million in the first quarter of 1997 from $1.7 million in the first quarter 
of 1996.  General and administrative expenses increased primarily as a result 
of higher payroll costs due to increased staffing in recruitment and training 
and management information services that were required to support overall 
business growth, increased provision for uncollectible accounts, termination 
costs, as well as salary increases in the ordinary course of business.  As a 
percentage of net revenues, general and administrative expenses amounted to 
8.3% in the first quarter 1997 compared to 6.6% in the first quarter of 1996.

Depreciation and amortization expenses increased slightly  as a result of 
depreciation of computer hardware and software development costs for shelf 
technology and for general business purposes.

Interest income increased as a result of the investment of proceeds from the 
Company's initial public offering on March 1, 1996.

Equity in earnings of affiliate represents the Company's share of the 
earnings of Ameritel, Inc.  During 1996, the Company exercised its option to 
increase its ownership of Ameritel to 20%, and is now required to recognize 
its equity interest in Ameritel's earnings.

Income tax benefit was approximately $0.8 million in the first quarter of 
1997, compared to income tax expense of $0.6 million in the first quarter of 
1996, representing an effective rate of 40.3% and 40.0%, respectively.

The Company incurred a net loss of approximately $1.2 million in the first 
quarter of 1997, compared to net income of approximately $0.9 million in the 
first quarter of 1996, primarily as a result of operating expenses increasing 
at a faster rate than revenues, as discussed above.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

The Company's primary capital need has been to fund the working capital 
requirements created by its growth in net revenues.  On March 1, 1996, the 
Company completed an initial public offering of its Common Stock, raising 
$26.5 million.  Prior to this offering, the Company's primary sources of 
financing were senior borrowings from a bank under a revolving line of credit 
and subordinated borrowings from two stockholders.  During the first quarter 
of 1997, the Company had a net increase in cash flow of $2.3 million 
principally due to a reduction in accounts receivable.  


                                        9

<PAGE>

In January 1997, the Company entered into a new credit agreement with a bank, 
which provides for an unsecured line of credit in the maximum amount of 
$7,000,000.  Borrowings under the line of credit bear interest at the bank's 
reference rate, unless the Company elects the specified offshore rate.  The 
credit agreement contains various covenants which, among other things, 
require compliance with certain financial tests such as working capital, 
tangible net worth, leverage and profitability.  In addition, the credit 
agreement imposes certain restrictions on the Company, including the 
incurrence of additional indebtedness, the payment of dividends, and the 
ability to make acquisitions. No borrowings are currently outstanding under 
this facility.

In March 1997, the Company's Board of Directors approved a stock repurchase 
program under which the Company is authorized to repurchase up to 1,000,000 
shares of Common Stock from time to time in the open market, depending on 
market conditions.  This program is funded by working capital.  As of May 1, 
1997, the Company repurchased an aggregate of 367,000 shares of Common Stock 
for an aggregate price of $2,149,117.  

The Company believes that it's working capital and available line of credit 
are sufficient to fund its operations for the next 12 months.

RISK FACTORS

The following risk factors should be carefully reviewed in addition to the 
other information contained in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.

HISTORY OF LOSSES

During the years ended December 31, 1992 and 1993, the Company incurred 
significant losses and experienced substantial negative cash flow.  The 
Company had net losses of $3.2 million and $2.6 million for the years ended 
December 31, 1992 and 1993, respectively.  These losses resulted primarily 
from additional field service costs to provide routed coverage in grocery 
stores for relatively few clients in newly-opened regions during the 
Company's continuing national expansion in 1992 and 1993, and from the 
write-off of $1.7 million in goodwill in 1992.  In addition, the Company 
incurred a net loss of $1.2 million for the first quarter of 1997, and 
expects its 1997 operating results to be substantially less than the prior 
year.  There can be no assurance that the Company will not sustain further 
losses. 


                                        10


<PAGE>

LOSS OF SYNDICATED BUSINESS

PIA's business mix has changed significantly over 1996 and the first quarter 
of 1997, and is expected to continue to change during the balance of 1997 in 
response to client needs and the evolving third party merchandising industry. 
Due in part to industry consolidation and increased competition, the Company 
has lost a substantial amount of syndicated services business over the last 
15 months, and has not sold any sizeable new syndicated business to 
compensate for this loss.  This business has historically required a 
significant fixed management and personnel infrastructure.  Accordingly, the 
loss of syndicated business, without offsetting gains, has a material adverse 
effect on the Company's results of operations. 

INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION; CONCENTRATED CLIENT BASE

The retail industry is undergoing a consolidation process that is resulting 
in fewer, larger retailers.  The Company's success is dependent in part upon 
its ability to maintain its existing clients and to obtain new clients.  As a 
result of industry consolidation, the Company has lost certain clients, and 
this trend could continue to have a negative effect on the Company's client 
base and results of operations.  The Company's ten largest clients generated 
approximately 74.0% and 58.4% of the Company's net revenues for the quarters 
ended March 31, 1996 and 1997, respectively.  During these periods, none of 
the Company's manufacturer or retailer clients accounted for greater than 10% 
of net revenues, other than Buena Vista Home Video and S.C. Johnson which 
accounted for 25.6% and 10.7% of net revenues, respectively, for the quarter 
ended March 31, 1997, and S.C. Johnson which accounted for 13.2% of net 
revenues for the quarter ended March 31, 1996.  The Company's contracts with 
its clients have terms ranging from one to five years.  PIA believes that the 
uncollectibility of amounts due from any of its large clients, the loss of 
one or more of such clients, a significant reduction in business from such 
clients, or the inability to attract new clients, would have a material 
adverse effect on the Company's results of operations.

COMPETITION

The third party merchandising industry is highly competitive and is comprised 
of an increasing number of merchandising companies with either specific 
retailer, retail channel or geographic coverage, and food brokers.  These 
competitors tend to compete with the Company primarily in the retail grocery 
channel, and some of them may have a greater presence in certain of the 
retailers in whose stores the Company performs its services.  The Company 
also competes with several companies that are national in scope, such as 
Powerforce, Spar/Marketing Force, Pimms and Alpha One.  These companies 
compete with PIA principally in the mass merchandiser, chain drug and deep 
discount drug retail channels.

The Company believes that the principal competitive factors within its 
industry include quality of service, cost and the ability to execute specific 
client priorities rapidly and consistently over a wide geography.  If any of 
the Company's major competitors were to seek to gain or retain market share 
by reducing its prices, the Company could experience downward pressure on the 
prices that it charges for certain elements of its services.  The Company has 
been forced periodically to adjust its prices to retain certain business.  
There can be no assurance that these competitors will not reduce their 
prices, or that in the future the Company will not face greater competition 
from other national or regional merchandising companies or food brokers. 

                                        11


<PAGE>

INCREASE IN SERVICES REQUIRED UNDER FIXED PRICE CONTRACTS

Manufacturers who sell their products through retail grocery stores generally 
are required by the retailer to provide labor support inside these stores for 
a variety of purposes, including new store sets and existing store resets, 
remerchandisings, remodels and category implementations.  The Company has 
historically contracted with its manufacturer clients to provide these 
services, among others, for a monthly flat fee or, in some cases, for a 
commission. Substantially all of the Company's current contracts provide for 
one of these two types of arrangements.  As requests for retailer-mandated 
services and new product introductions by manufacturers have increased over 
the past several years, the Company's labor expense has increased without any 
related increase in its revenue.  Consequently, the Company has reevaluated 
its approach to contracting with its clients, and has revised certain of its 
existing contracts upon their renewal to implement provisions that charge for 
retailer-mandated services separately from traditional merchandising and 
shelf maintenance tasks. No assurance can be given that the Company will be 
successful in renewing the remaining contracts on this basis.

UNCERTAINTY OF COMMISSION INCOME

Approximately 15.0% of the Company's net revenues for the quarter ended March 
31, 1997 was earned under commission-based contracts.  These contracts 
provide for commissions based on a percentage of the client's net sales of 
certain of its products to designated retailers.  Commission paid to PIA 
under these contracts have had a significant effect on the Company's 
profitability in certain quarters.  Under certain of these contracts, the 
Company generally receives a draw on a monthly or quarterly basis, which is 
then applied against commissions earned.  Adjustments are made on a monthly 
or quarterly basis upon receipt of reconciliations between commissions earned 
from the client and the draws previously received.  The reconciliations 
typically result in commissions owed to the Company in excess of previous 
draws; however, the Company cannot predict with accuracy the level of its 
clients' commission-based sales. Accordingly, the amount of commissions in 
excess of or less than the draws previously received will fluctuate and can 
significantly affect the Company's operating results in any quarter.  In 
addition, the amount of commissions earned by the Company under these 
contracts varies seasonally, and generally corresponds to the peak selling 
seasons of the clients that have entered into these types of contracts.  
Historically, the Company has recognized greater commission income in its 
first and fourth quarters due to the timing of such clients' sales.

DEPENDENCE ON SENIOR MANAGEMENT

The Company is dependent upon the services of its officers and the key 
management personnel involved in its field organization.  The loss of the 
services of one or more of these individuals could have a material adverse 
effect on the Company.  The Company carries term life insurance on Clinton E. 
Owens, the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.


                                        12

<PAGE>


P
ART II:   OTHER INFORMATION


     Item 1:  Legal Proceedings
                 None


     Item 2:  Changes in Securities
                 None


     Item 3:  Defaults Upon Senior Securities
                 None


     Item 4:  Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders
                 None


     Item 5:  Other Information
                 None


     Item 6:  Exhibits and Reports on Form 8-K.
                 (27)  Financial Data Schedule

                 The Company did not file any reports on Form 8-K during the 
                 three months ended March 31, 1997.
               

                                        13


<PAGE>



                                      SIGNATURES
                                           
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the 
Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the 
undersigned thereunto duly authorized.

                                             PIA MERCHANDISING SERVICES, INC.
                                             (Registrant)



                                             By: /s/ Clinton E. Owens
                                                ----------------------------
                                                 Clinton E. Owens
                                                 Chairman of the Board and
                                                 Chief Executive Officer


                                             By: /s/ Roy L. Olofson
                                                ----------------------------
                                                 Roy L. Olofson
                                                 Executive Vice President and
                                                 Chief Financial Officer


Dated: May  , 1997


                                        14







<TABLE> <S> <C>


<PAGE>
<ARTICLE> 5
<MULTIPLIER> 1,000
       
<S>                             <C>
<PERIOD-TYPE>                   3-MOS
<FISCAL-YEAR-END>                          DEC-31-1996
<PERIOD-START>                             JAN-01-1997
<PERIOD-END>                               MAR-31-1997
<CASH>                                          21,791
<SECURITIES>                                         0
<RECEIVABLES>                                   19,751
<ALLOWANCES>                                       837
<INVENTORY>                                          0
<CURRENT-ASSETS>                                42,790
<PP&E>                                           4,192
<DEPRECIATION>                                   2,409
<TOTAL-ASSETS>                                  47,261
<CURRENT-LIABILITIES>                           11,340
<BONDS>                                              0
<PREFERRED-MANDATORY>                                0
<PREFERRED>                                          0
<COMMON>                                            59
<OTHER-SE>                                      33,429
<TOTAL-LIABILITY-AND-EQUITY>                    47,261
<SALES>                                              0
<TOTAL-REVENUES>                                29,356
<CGS>                                                0
<TOTAL-COSTS>                                   26,369
<OTHER-EXPENSES>                                 4,870
<LOSS-PROVISION>                                   330
<INTEREST-EXPENSE>                               (255)
<INCOME-PRETAX>                                (1,958)
<INCOME-TAX>                                       790
<INCOME-CONTINUING>                            (1,168)
<DISCONTINUED>                                       0
<EXTRAORDINARY>                                      0
<CHANGES>                                            0
<NET-INCOME>                                   (1,168)
<EPS-PRIMARY>                                   (0.19)
<EPS-DILUTED>                                   (0.19)
        

</TABLE>