A&P SALES UP, EARNINGS OFF FOR QUARTER AND FISCAL YEAR

MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here said that despite a "sluggish sales climate," most of its groups reported higher profits in fiscal 1997 vs. fiscal 1996. lphia and Waldbaum's in Long Island."We have recently installed new management and implemented new marketing plans in both groups, which we expect will improve results in 1998," Wood said.Earnings for the 13-week fourth quarter ended Feb. 28 were $13.4

MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here said that despite a "sluggish sales climate," most of its groups reported higher profits in fiscal 1997 vs. fiscal 1996.

lphia and Waldbaum's in Long Island.

"We have recently installed new management and implemented new marketing plans in both groups, which we expect will improve results in 1998," Wood said.

Earnings for the 13-week fourth quarter ended Feb. 28 were $13.4 million, or 35 cents per share, compared with $23.1 million, or 60 cents per share, for the year-ago quarter, which had 12 weeks. Sales for the quarter were $2.5 billion, compared with $2.3 billion last year. Comparable-store sales declined 1.5% compared with last year's fourth quarter, the company said.

For the 1997 fiscal year, A&P recorded income, before an extraordinary charge of 1 cent per share, of $63.6 million, or $1.66 per share, on sales of $10.3 billion, compared with net income of $73.0 million, or $1.91 per share, on sales of $10.1 billion in fiscal 1996. Comparable-store sales for the year declined 1.6%.

In 1997, the company said it substantially increased agreements requiring up-front cash payments from certain suppliers.

As a result, the company deferred such payments received in the fourth quarter over the life of multiperiod supply agreements negotiated with such suppliers. Future income statements will benefit from these deferrals, which amounted to $15 million pretax or 26 cents per share after tax, the company said.

A&P said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $390 million, about the same as last year.

A&P said it opened 40 new stores in 1997 and plans to open at least 45 in 1998. It also remodeled or enlarged 45 stores in 1997, and plans to do 80 in 1998, officials said.

The company operated 936 stores at the end of the fiscal year and served 52 franchised stores in Canada.

4TH-QUARTER RESULTS

Qtr Ended 2/28/98 2 /22/97

Sales $2.5 billion $2.3 billion

Change + 6.6%

Same-store - 1.5%

Net Income $13.4 million $23.1 million

Change - 41.9%

Inc/Share 35 cents 60 cents

53/52 Weeks 1997 1996

Sales $10.3 billion $10.1 billion

Change + 2%

Same-store - 1.6%

Net Income $63.0 million $73.0 million

Change - 13.7%

Inc/Share $1.65 $1.91