SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here reported a same-store sales increase of 4.2% for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 -- its strongest performance in the two years since a negative report on the chain's food handling practices aired on ABC-TV's "PrimeTime Live." "Some people thought the company had plateaued at the 3% level of same-store sales, but the jump to 4.2% for the fourth quarter is a very impressive number and a good sign of the company's progress since the TV report," Gary Giblen, managing director of Smith Barney, New York, told SN. Food Lion said its sales for the 52-week year rose 4.2% to $7.9 billion, compared with $7.6 billion a year earlier; for the 16-week quarter sales increased 2.6% to $2.5 billion, compared with $2.4 billion a year earlier. Same-store sales rose 3.3% for the year.
be seen how well the company is doing once we can see its margins." Food Lion operated 1,039 stores at the end of 1994, compared with 1,096 at the end of 1993. During 1994 it opened 30 new stores, closed 87 and remodeled 85; in 1995 it said it expects to open 50 new stores and remodel 120 existing units.