ALBERTSON'S POSTS RECORD SALES, NET IN 3RD QUARTER

BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's here reported record sales and earnings for the third quarter and increased sales and earnings for the 39 weeks ended Nov. 3. Net income rose 50.4% for the 13-week quarter to $94.3 million, and 25.4% to $266.8 million for the 39 weeks. Excluding an accounting change, earnings for the 39 weeks rose 28.4% to $273.2 million. Last year's third-quarter results included a nonrecurring

BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's here reported record sales and earnings for the third quarter and increased sales and earnings for the 39 weeks ended Nov. 3. Net income rose 50.4% for the 13-week quarter to $94.3 million, and 25.4% to $266.8 million for the 39 weeks. Excluding an accounting change, earnings for the 39 weeks rose 28.4% to $273.2 million. Last year's third-quarter results included a nonrecurring charge for a sex discrimination lawsuit, a decrease in interest expense due to resolution of a tax issue and a retroactive increase in the federal income tax rate, which combined to decrease net earnings by $14.4 million, or 5 cents per share. Sales rose 7.1% for the quarter to $2.9 billion and 7.3% for the 39 weeks to $8.8 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.8% for the quarter and 2.9% for the year to date. The company said it plans to continue to concentrate on the factors "critical for success in the retail food and drug industry, including increasing identical store sales, employee training; controlling expenses, and increasing retail square footage. Gary Vineberg, a securities analyst with Merrill Lynch, New York, said Albertson's is maintaining the momentum "that started to build over the last couple of years, while other companies were struggling with sales." He said Albertson's is doing "particularly well" in Florida, where its new Plant City distribution center has helped boost gross margins and improve the chain's in-stock position.