JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie here said sales and earnings increased for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended April 5, despite the fact that Easter fell in the fourth quarter this year vs. the third quarter last year. Sales for the 12-week period were $2.8 billion, a 4.7% increase over the same quarter last year. Sales for 40 weeks were $8.9 billion, up 4.8% over the previous year.
Same store sales increased 1.7% for the quarter and 2.6% for the year-to-date.
Net earnings for the quarter were $56.9 million, or 76 cents per share, an increase of 9.4%. Through nine months, net earnings were $164.5 million or $2.21 per share, up 8.4%.
"We are pleased that the transaction to acquire Thriftway, which operates 25 retail food stores in the Cincinnati area, has been completed this quarter," said James Kufeldt, president.
"Since the transaction was completed near the end of the quarter, these stores did not materially impact sales for the quarter. This acquisition combined with our aggressive new store program has resulted in an increase in store count for the first time in eight years."
During the first 40 weeks of fiscal 1995, the company opened 57 new stores. It also acquired 26 stores, enlarged or remodeled 63 stores and closed 59 stores. As of April 5, retail space totaled 43.4 million-square-feet, an 8.0% increase over the prior year.
Currently, there are 45 new stores under construction. The company said it plans to open 22 new stores and enlarge or remodel 30 stores during the fourth quarter.