ARCADIA, Calif. -- Vons Cos. here said improved service, effective marketing programs and competitive pricing helped boost financial results for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended Oct. 8. Sales rose 3.2% for the 16-week quarter to $1.6 billion -- despite operating seven fewer stores, the company noted -- and 0.7% to $3.9 billion for the 40 weeks, while same-store sales rose 5.3% for the quarter and 3.1% for the year-to-date. Net income rose to $18.5 million for the quarter and $47 million for the 40 weeks. Excluding a onetime restructuring charge of $19 million on a pretax basis in last year's third quarter, net income was up 22% for the quarter and 48% for the year-to-date.
flow for the quarter rose 5.5% to $93.5 million, or 6% of sales, compared with $88.6 million, or 7.8% of sales, a year ago. Chuck Cerankosky, a securities analyst with Hancock Institutional Equity Service, Cleveland, said the strong jump in same-store sales -- up from 1.6% in the first quarter of the year and 1.8% in the second quarter -- "shows the company is taking market share from someone else, whereas a couple of years ago it was losing share."