JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores here saw its stock dip about 7% yesterday after the company issued a cautious report about the start of fiscal 2010.
Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie's chief executive officer, confirmed the company's previously issued guidance for the current fiscal year, which began June 25, but guided investors toward the low end of sales expectations, citing competitive activity and the weak economy.
He also said Publix Super Markets responded to Winn-Dixie's marketwide remodeling effort in the Jacksonville, Fla., region by selectively lowering prices on a limited number of items.
"What they have done is they've zoned their circulars in the Jacksonville area," Lynch told investors in a conference call discussing fourth-quarter results. "It's not a lot of items — It’s a few. But they fired a round over the bow to let us know that they knew what we were doing."
Lynch stressed that the chain was not in midst of a "price war," however.
"A price war is when retailers go out and drop thousands of prices in the center store, across the store," he said. "What we have down here is a natural reaction to a slowing of the economy, where retailers will go out and they'll fine tune the front page of their ads, to be a little bit more competitive, and try and drive some sales."
A spokeswoman for Publix declined to comment specifically on its marketing tactics in the Jacksonville market, but told SN it has been aggressive in offering value for customers across all its markets.
"No one knows the Publix business better than Publix," said Maria Brous, the Publix spokeswoman. "Regardless of who the competition is, we stay focused on the customer."
As reported yesterday, Winn-Dixie on Monday reported a fourth-quarter profit that was better than analysts' expectations, reversing a loss in the year-ago period.
Read More of Today's Headlines