ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Carr Gottstein Foods Co. here said sales for the first quarter ended March 29 decreased $6.4 million, or 4.5%, from $141.5 million in 1997 to $135.1 million in 1998. Excluding the 1997 sales attributable to YES Foods, which was closed during the third quarter of 1997, sales decreased $0.6 million, or 0.4%
The improved EBITDA was primarily attributable to strong gross margins combined with lower operating costs in the quarter and was achieved despite the change in the Easter holiday that fell into the second quarter of 1998 versus the first quarter of 1997.
Net income for the quarter increased $0.4 million to a net loss of $0.634 million, or 8 cents per share, versus a net loss of $1.0 million, or 13 cents per share in the same quarter of 1997.
The reduction in net loss for the 1998 quarter reflects improvements in gross margin, lower operating expenses and reductions in interest expenses due to lower average debt balances in the 1998 quarter versus the prior year, the company said.
Total retail comparable-store sales decreased 0.6% for the 1998 quarter, as compared to the first quarter of 1997. Sales were impacted by the timing of the Easter holiday that fell into the second quarter of 1998 versus the first quarter of 1997.