SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Penn Traffic Co. here reported record sales, cash flow and operating income for the first quarter ended April 30.
Cash flow increased 6% to $55.1 million, while operating income rose 5.8% to $33.4 million. Sales for the quarter increased 6.3% to $810 million and same-store sales increased 0.9%.
Penn Traffic, a 232-store operation, reported a loss of $5.8 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $17.3 million last year. Income before extraordinary items and charges totaled $2.3 million in the quarter, compared with $419,000 in last year's quarter.
The loss in the 13-week first quarter included an extraordinary charge of $2.3 million related to early retirement of debt and a charge of $5.8 million related to an accounting change.
The year-ago loss included an extraordinary charge of $17.6 million for early debt retirement.
"Our improving bottom-line performance continues to reflect the strength of our operations," said Gary D. Hirsch, chairman. "Nevertheless, our sales and earnings for the period were adversely affected by the impact of the severe winter weather in the first half of the quarter."
Claude J. Incaudo, president and chief executive officer, said Penn Traffic is seeing improvements in operating results from the initiatives taken last year.
"For example, by the end of May, all of our stores were receiving substantially all of their nonfood products from our consolidated facilities," Incaudo said.
Gary Giblen, a securities analyst with PaineWebber, New York, said he was disappointed with the company's first-quarter results, noting that gross margins and expenses were flat. Weather affected Penn Traffic in Ohio and Pennsylvania, he said.