A&P PREDICTS EPS OF 80 CENTS-PLUS IN 2002

MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here said last week it expects to achieve earnings per share of 80 to 90 cents in fiscal 2002, in contrast to its fiscal 2001 earnings of 2 cents per share, excluding one-time expenses and gains.Speaking during a conference call with analysts following the release of the company's results for the fourth quarter and year ended Feb. 23, Mitch Goldstein, chief financial officer,

MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here said last week it expects to achieve earnings per share of 80 to 90 cents in fiscal 2002, in contrast to its fiscal 2001 earnings of 2 cents per share, excluding one-time expenses and gains.

Speaking during a conference call with analysts following the release of the company's results for the fourth quarter and year ended Feb. 23, Mitch Goldstein, chief financial officer, said that the company's report of its financial results for the year was complicated by three special events in the fourth quarter: a nonrecurring pretax gain of $60.6 million from the demutualization of the Prudential Insurance Co.; an extraordinary after-tax charge of $7.2 million for the cost of purchasing $198 million in senior and other notes; and pretax costs of $28.6 million relating to A&P's closing of underperforming stores.

For the year, sales rose 3.8% to $11 billion, comparable-store sales were up 2.6%, and the company experienced a net loss of $83.5 million (compared with a net loss of $25.1 million in the previous year) along with a loss per share of $2.18 (compared with a loss per share of 65 cents in the previous year).

For the 12-week quarter, sales declined 3.8% to $2.5 billion, comparable-store sales increased 0.5%, net income (including all three one-time events) was $19.3 million (compared with a loss of $10.7 million in the previous fourth quarter), and earnings per share (including all three one-time events) were 49 cents (compared with a loss of 28 cents in the previous fourth quarter).

Excluding one-time events, earnings per share in the fourth quarter were 20 cents.