ETOBICOKE, Ontario -- Oshawa Group here reported record sales and increased earnings for the year and increased results for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 22.
1.8% for the quarter to $967.1 million.
The figures were converted at a rate of $1.38 Canadian to the U.S. dollar.
Year-end results included a charge against earnings of $6.1 million, or 9 cents per share, which included the following:
· Converting 50 stores to new banners, including underproductive, corporately owned full-line Food City stores to the Price Chopper limited-line discount format; conventional franchised Elliott Marr stores in southwest Ontario to IGA, and conventional franchised Valley Foods units in the Ottawa Valley to IGA.
· Shutting down three small distribution facilities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and moving that volume to a larger facility in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
· Settling a landlord's claim related to the October 1990 disposal of Towers, the company's former department store division.
The company also incurred costs developing its new Our Compliments private-label line, which includes approximately 30 items in Ontario and about 10 in the Atlantic provinces. An Oshawa spokesman said the full line will be rolled out nationwide this year.
Sales were augmented by the full-year results of three acquisitions last year: 23 former Steinberg stores in Quebec; Aligro, a wholesale operation in Quebec, and Horne & Pittfield, the IGA operation in Alberta, Allister P. Graham, chairman and chief executive officer, pointed out.
However, growth was moderated by the low rate of food-price inflation and a sharp decline in tobacco volume because of high taxes, he added. Marilyn Brophy, a securities analyst here with Montreal-based Levesque Beaubien Geoffrion, said the company's results are improving since the end of the price-war environment in Alberta and the subsequent rise in prices.
"Oshawa is cutting costs across the board and putting money into store upgrades, and the focus on store banners has helped boost sales," Brophy added.