JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores here reported its 61st consecutive sales increase in the fiscal year ended June 28.
Sales rose 6.3%, from $11.1 billion to $11.8 billion for the 52 weeks. Identical store sales rose 3% while average store sales were up 6.8%.
Net earnings increased 7.5%, from $216.1 million to $232.2 million.
In the fourth quarter, sales shot up 11.5%, from $2.6 billion to $2.9 billion. Identical store sales increased 3.8% and average store sales increased 9.5%.
Sales for the final 12 weeks were positively affected by about 1% because the Easter holiday fell in the fourth quarter instead of the third quarter as it did in the previous year, the company estimated.
Net earnings rose 5.1%, from $64.4 million to $67.7 million.
Excluding the Thriftway acquisition, sales would have increased 5.3% for the year and 7% for the quarter, according to a statement by Winn-Dixie.
"The merging of the Thriftway stores into our operation has been completed. This sales momentum should have a positive effect on our fiscal 1996 operating results," said chairman A. Dano Davis.
At the end of fiscal 1995, the company operated 1,175 units, 16 more than the year before. Winn-Dixie opened and acquired 108 stores, closed 92 and enlarged or remodeled 86.
Plans for the coming year include substantially increasing square footage and entering at least one new market, according to Richard McCook, financial vice president.
Winn-Dixie will bring a 10-store presence to the Chattanooga, Tenn. area, he told SN.
Due to a great deal of real estate activity and the Thriftway acquisition during the last year, "the numbers came out a little below expectations," said Jack Russo, a research analyst with A.G. Edwards & Sons, St. Louis.
Nevertheless, he noted that "their identical store sales numbers are among the best in the industry.