WAYNE, N.J. -- Grand Union Holdings Corp. here reported lower sales and a net loss for the year ended April 2.
The loss totaled $118 million. It included cash interest expense of $143.6 million, about $34 million of which was paid in the fourth quarter. Sales totaled $2.5 billion.
GUHC is the indirect parent of Grand Union, which operates 254 stores in the Northeast.
After adjusting for the extra week in 1993 and excluding the results of the Southern division, which was sold late in fiscal 1993, GUHC said the sales decline would have been 1.5% for 1994.
In the fourth quarter, sales totaled $573 million. Excluding the extra week in the year-ago quarter, sales would have increased 2.7%. Same-store sales fell 1.7% in the fourth quarter, the best performance of the year. Including replacement stores, the same-store sales decline was 0.4%.
Operating cash flow (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) totaled $180.1 million, or 7.3% of sales, in fiscal 1994. This compares with cash flow of $196.7 million, or 6.9% of sales, in fiscal 1993.
After excluding the results of the Southern division, cash flow totaled $189.5 million, or 7.4% of sales, in 53-week fiscal 1993.
Gary D. Hirsch, chairman, said the cash-flow margin of 7.4%, which Grand Union achieved in the fourth quarter, "continues to be one of the strongest percentages within the retail food industry." He said the improved sales in the fourth quarter were primarily a result of "a moderately improving economic trend in the metropolitan New York area and our greatly expanded capital development program."
Kenneth Goldberg, a high-yield securities analyst at Merrill Lynch, New York, said GUHC's results were "in line" with industry trends. On an adjusted basis, cash flow increased 4.5% in the fourth quarter, which is good, Goldberg said.
Grand Union's Northern operations are under "a little more pressure" due to a weaker economy than the metro New York stores.
"They're moving in the right direction," he said of GUHC. However, the Easter holiday period, which fell in this year's fourth quarter, was partially responsible for the improvements in the fourth quarter, Goldberg said.