OKLAHOMA CITY -- Fleming Cos. here last week said net earnings declined 30.7% to $18.6 million in the 12-week second quarter ended July 9.
Sales totaled $2.88 billion in the period, a decrease of 2.7%.
Robert E. Stauth, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the company's results were down compared with 1993 results, as expected, but Fleming remains on target to meet its projections for the full year.
"With the temporary Albertson's business excluded from 1993 numbers, sales comparisons would have been up slightly for the first half," he said. Fleming supplied Florida stores operated by Albertson's, Boise, Idaho, on an interim basis during 1993.
Additionally, Fleming, the nation's second-largest food distribution and marketing company following the acquisition of Scrivner Inc. here last month, said it continues to be affected by the absence of food inflation. The consolidation of four distribution centers and the sale of Royal Foods, Woodbridge, N.J., dairy business also contributed to the lower results.
Gross-margins improved 41 basis points in the quarter to 6.4% of sales. Selling and administrative expenses increased about 90 basis points to 5% of sales.
Bonni Zwickel, a securities analyst at CS First Boston, New York, said Fleming's second-quarter earnings per share of 50 cents were "a little better" than she expected. She said Fleming's gross-margin rate improved as a result of its having "more retail sales in the mix."
Zwickel said the $1.1 billion acquisition of Scrivner will increase Fleming's interest expense in fiscal 1994, and also will allow the distribution company to reduce operating costs through facilities' consolidation. As part of its consolidation with Scrivner, Zwickel said Fleming will likely close two distribution centers before Thanksgiving.
Fleming executives previously have said they expect to close eight overlapping distribution centers during the next 18 months.