SALT LAKE CITY -- American Stores Co. here said total sales increased 1.4% to $4.98 billion for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 and 2.5% to $19.14 billion for fiscal year 1997.
er and 11.5% for the year.
Victor L. Lund, chairman and chief executive officer of American Stores, said the company reduced operating expenses in the fourth quarter.
"We achieved a slight reduction in expenses as a percent of sales in spite of pressures from many new store openings and strong competition," he said.
Regarding the company's drug stores, Lund said, "Our initiatives to improve operating profit by focusing on increasing margins and reducing expenses in our drug stores are proceeding well on track." The company opened or acquired 41 new stores, completed 17 remodels and closed 25 stores during the quarter. For the year, the company opened or acquired 96 new stores, completed 65 remodels and closed or sold 68 stores.
Compared with the end of the prior year, retail square footage increased 7.9% before closures and 4.2% on a net basis after closures.
Earnings were affected in the fiscal year by various nonrecurring charges, the company said.
Qtr Ended 1/31/98 2/1/97
Sales $4.98 billion $4.91 billion
Change + 1.4%
Same-store + 0.2%
Net Income $96.2 million $64.1 million
Change + 50%
Inc/Share 35 cents 22 cents
52 Weeks 1997 1996
Sales $19.14 billion $18.68 billion
Change + 2.5%
Same-store + 0.9%
Net Income $280.6 million $287.2 million
Change - 2.2%
Inc/Share $1.01 98 cents