DALLAS -- Fleming here said last week sales were flat and adjusted net earnings showed marked improvement for the second quarter and first half ended July 8.
Adjusted earnings exclude charges resulting from the company's strategic plan, which was instituted in December 1998, including non-cash impairments of asset values and cash restructuring costs for severance, lease terminations, real estate disposition costs for discontinued operations and other related expenses.
Without the adjustments, the company said it had a net loss of $13.3 million for the quarter and $39.2 million for the half.
Fleming said sales in its distribution segment rose 6.1% in the quarter to $2.6 billion -- the highest gain since the second quarter of 1995, the company noted -- and 3.6% to $6 billion for the half. The company said the increases were the result of $665 million in gross annualized new customer growth.
Operating earnings in the distribution segment rose 14.6% to $74.9 million for the quarter and 10% to $168.9 million for the half.
Sales growth in the distribution segment came from a variety of sources, the company said, including a new supply contract with Clark Retail Enterprises, Chicago, a 693-store operator of convenience stores with gasoline; five new Super Target locations; and a Webvan distribution center in Oakland, Calif.; plus cost savings from establishment of a customer support center; category marketing; national procurement of all perishables and 50% of groceries; and increased customer participation in six national buying events during the half.
The company said it will open a new convenience store distribution center in August in Romeoville, Ill., to service the Clark stores.
Fleming said sales in its retail segment fell 12.9% to $761.1 million for the quarter and 9.4% to $1.8 billion for the half, primarily as a result of the divestiture of underperforming and non-strategic stores. Same-store sales fell 3.2% in the quarter, which Fleming noted was an improvement over prior quarters.
Operating earnings in the retail segment rose 114.4% to $20.8 million for the quarter and 48.7% to $38.6 million for the half.