JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores here said its third-quarter financial results showed gains but were still adversely affected because Easter fell in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1998, and the third quarter of fiscal 1997.
ion, or 38 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Year-to-date, sales were $10.4 billion, an increase of 2.1% over $10.2 billion for the corresponding 40-week period last year. Earnings were $164.6 million, or $1.11 per share, an increase of 8.3% compared with $152.1 million, or $1.01 per share in 1997.
Identical store sales decreased 1.6% for the quarter and 1.5% year-to-date. Average store sales increased 1.4% for the quarter and approximately 1% year-to-date due to the shift of Easter from the third quarter to the fourth quarter.
James Kufeldt, Winn-Dixie president, said identical-store sales for the last four weeks of the quarter, when adjusted for Easter, were positive. However, he indicated that the chain would make sales growth a priority and will increase promotional and advertising spending to accomplish that goal.
During the first 40 weeks of fiscal 1998, Winn-Dixie opened 63 new stores, averaging 49,900 square feet. It also enlarged or remodeled 84 stores and closed 58 stores. Square footage increased 4.2%.