JACKSON, Miss. -- Jitney-Jungle Stores of America here said sales and operating cash flow rose for the 52-week year and 16-week fourth quarter ended Jan. 2.
eek fourth quarter compared with an 11-week quarter in the prior year -- a result of Jitney-Jungle's decision two years ago to change the ending date of its fiscal year.
The company also noted that the year ended Jan. 3, 1998, included 16 weeks of volume from Delchamps, the Mobile, Ala.-based chain of 105 stores that Jitney acquired in mid-September 1997.
Jitney said sales for the year ended Jan. 2 rose 79.4% to $2.1 billion and same-store sales dropped 3.7%, while operating cash flow increased 126.2% to $117.4 million.
For the 16-week quarter, sales jumped 29.6% to $621.2 million and same-store sales fell 4%, while operating cash flow rose 205.7% to $43.1 million.
The company did not release net income results.
Jitney said it incurred $23.8 million of acquisition integration costs and other special charges in 1998, which it said were primarily attributable to consolidating warehouse operations, remerchandising the acquired Delchamps stores and training Delchamps employees.
"We are pleased with our operating performance in light of the significant challenges that we faced during the year," said Michael E. Julian, chairman and chief executive officer. "We believe the problems we encountered in integrating the Jitney-Jungle and Delchamps operations are behind us, and we expect to continue to exploit the synergies of combining the two operations in 1999."
During the year Jitney-Jungle opened three supermarkets and two gasoline stations; converted 12 conventional stores to a combination-store format, and closed 22 stores, including 10 that were required to be sold by the Federal Trade Commission following the Delchamps purchase.
Jitney-Jungle operates 198 stores, including 161 conventional stores, 21 combination stores and 16 discount stores, plus 10 liquor stores and 54 gasoline stations throughout Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana and in selected markets in Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas.