BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's here reported record sales and earnings for the year and increased sales and earnings for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3.
1.3 billion and 13.9% for the quarter to $3.1 billion, while same-store sales rose 2.8% for the year and 2.2% for the quarter.
When compared on a 52-week basis for the year and a 13-week basis for the quarter, sales increas-ed 8.8% and 5.8%, respectively.
The sales increase moved Albertson's past A&P, with $10.5 billion in sales, and Winn-Dixie's $10.8 billion volume, to become the fourth largest retail supermarket in the United States based on sales. The top three are Kroger, American and Safeway.
Results for the year included adjustments, taken in the third quarter, for a nonrecurring charge of $29.9 million to cover the settlement of a class-action employment discrimination lawsuit in northern California and a decrease in interest expense of $9.7 million, due primarily to the successful resolution of a tax issue.
According to A. Craig Olson, senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer, the company's 2.8% same-store sales increase included inflation of approximately 0.6%, with 2.2% representing real growth. "The company will continue to focus on increasing sales in existing stores, training and education programs for retail store employees and programs to reduce expenses as a percentage to sales," Olson said.
The chain's distribution system expansion is on schedule, he added, with the full-line distribution center in Plant City, Fla., which began limited operations in December, and is scheduled to be fully operational this month.