MINNEAPOLIS -- Nash Finch Co. here said sales were flat and earnings increased for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended Oct. 9.
creased 136.7% to $8 million for the quarter and 182.6% to $11.5 million for the 40-week period.
The company said net income reflected the positive impact of discontinued operations from the sale of the company's former produce operation in August and gains on the sale of the company's stakes in two dairies in July.
Nash Finch said operating cash flow declined 1.1% for the quarter to $26 million, or 2% of sales, and dropped 7.7% for the 40 weeks to $65 million, or 2.1% of sales.
The company said revenues in its retail segment rose 33% to $293 million for the quarter and comparable store sales rose 0.8% for the quarter. It said it attributed the retail improvements to a strengthening of its position in certain markets, the introduction of strong retailing programs and greater-than-anticipated synergies from its acquisition in early June of Erickson's Supermarkets, Hudson, Wisc.
Operating profits in the retail segment rose 405% to $6.5 million following an 11.5% improvement in sales per labor hour productivity and overall reduced operating expenses, the company said.
Sales in its wholesale segment fell 10.4% in the quarter, the company said, due to the negative impact of the Erickson's acquisition, which shifted business of the former wholesale segment customer to the company's retail segment.
Other factors that contributed to the decline, the company noted, were consolidation of two warehouses in North Carolina, anticipated competitive pressures in Denver and the impact of Hurricane Floyd.
The wholesale segment benefitted from new business from 55 independent retailers in Michigan, the company pointed out.
Ron Marshall, president and chief executive officer, said Nash Finch continued to make progress implementing strategic initiatives to improve performance in the wholesale segment, including a 29% increase in on-time deliveries, achieving a 96% rate in the quarter; a 6% reduction in cost per case, resulting in annualized savings of about $10 million; a 10% improvement in inventory levels, and a 44% increase in trailer capacity utilization.