VERNON, Calif. -- Smart & Final here said ongoing problems in its Florida operations will result in an earnings shortfall for the year and fourth quarter ending Jan. 4.
Roger M. Laverty 3rd, president and chief executive officer, said earnings will fall below analysts' expectations of $1 to $1.10 per share for the fiscal year and 20 cents to 28 cents for the quarter before an expected fourth-quarter special charge of 25 cents to 30 cents per share related to restructuring the company's Florida operations.
"As expected, earnings pressures that we experienced in the third quarter have continued in the fourth quarter, particularly those related to our Florida operations," Laverty said. "Because of Florida's seasonal significance, the impact of these pressures is greater in the fourth quarter, and earnings for the quarter will be substantially lower than analyst expectations.
"We have taken a number of corrective steps, including the planned closure of two Florida stores and reorganization of the Miami distribution operations, and we are considering a number of other restructuring options.
"As previously reported, in addition to this earnings shortfall, we anticipate taking a substantial restructuring charge in the fourth quarter that we expect will position the company for resumed profit growth in 1998."
Although the bulk of its operations are in California and Nevada, Smart & Final operates 12 stores in Florida plus a food-service business -- Henry Lee Inc. -- whose management was changed during the third quarter.
The company opened a new warehouse in Orlando in July to alleviate some of the pressure on its Miami facility, and it plans to open a new freezer facility in Miami in 1998.