SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Penn Traffic Co. here said last week it was anticipating a companywide rollout of its Wild Card loyalty program over the weekend.
nd New Hampshire. Penn Traffic introduced the Wild Card program at its 70 Big Bear stores in Ohio and West Virginia during last year's third quarter.
The company said it expects to spend approximately $3 million to complete the rollout, with all costs incurred before the end of the fiscal year, primarily during the third quarter.
Penn Traffic also disclosed financial results last week for the second quarter and first half ended Aug. 4, including increased sales and earnings after adjustments for assumption of leases a year ago at 10 stores in New England that had been leased for 10 years to Grand Union.
Sales rose 2.8% to $644.3 million for the 13-week quarter and 3% to $1.3 billion for the 26-week half, while same-store sales climbed 0.7% for the quarter and 0.6% for the half. Net income -- adjusted to exclude amortization of excess reorganization value, New England lease income and an unusual item involving a warehouse consolidation project -- rose 103.4% to $5.3 million for the quarter and 219.9% to $5.5 million for the half.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- adjusted to exclude New England lease income -- jumped 16.4% to $29.5 million for the quarter and 14.3% to $50.9 million for the half.
Joseph V. Fisher, president and chief executive officer, said the 10 New England stores began contributing to EBITDA during the second quarter, "which is earlier than the company had expected."
According to Fisher, "We believe the improvement in our sales and profitability is a direct result of numerous marketing, merchandising and cost-reduction initiatives we have implemented over the past two years, and we expect the company to continue benefiting from these programs in future periods."
He said Penn Traffic is continuing to make progress in managing its cost structure. "During the quarter we decreased shrink expenses, distribution costs and store labor costs, and we used the savings to improve profitability and increase the promotions that drive sales," he explained.
Fisher said the company plans to keep improving in those areas by implementing new technology, including installation of a new logistics system to schedule and route trucks more efficiently and new software to improve the efficiency of its pharmacy operations.