FINANCIAL BRIEFS

Wild Oats Conducting Review of Businesshere said it will conduct an extensive review of its business, following its posting a net loss of $118 million in the first quarter ended March 31, compared to net income of $5.3 million last year. The company attributed the loss to "operational weaknesses" in several new stores and rising utility costs. Sales rose 4% to $219.5 million for the quarter, the result

Wild Oats Conducting Review of Business

here said it will conduct an extensive review of its business, following its posting a net loss of $118 million in the first quarter ended March 31, compared to net income of $5.3 million last year. The company attributed the loss to "operational weaknesses" in several new stores and rising utility costs. Sales rose 4% to $219.5 million for the quarter, the result of four new store openings in the quarter and the inclusion of sales from 16 new or acquired stores in 2000, the company said. However, sales increases were offset by the sale or closure of 20 stores in 2000, according to the company. Comparable-store sales increased 1%, the first increase in comps since 1999. Wild Oats said the results of its business review could have a negative financial impact on the rest of the year. The company also said it is postponing any store openings planned for 2001, except for one Henry's store slated to open in the fourth quarter.

Homeland Expects Comps Decline to Ease

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Homeland Holding Corp. here said it expected the impact of last year's competitive openings to moderate, and so the pressure on same-store sales, which declined 7.8% in the 12-week quarter ended March 24, will ease in the second half. In the first quarter, net income declined 70.5% to $122,000, and earnings per share were 2 cents, down from 8 cents. With 78 stores in operation at the end of the latest quarter, compared to 83 stores at the same time in 2000, net sales for the quarter were down 8.1% to $125.5 million. EBITDA declined 5.4% to $5.2 million.

New Stores Boost Arden Sales

LOS ANGELES -- Arden Group, parent company of Gelson's Markets and Mayfair Markets, said two new stores helped boost sales and earnings for the 13-week first quarter ended March 31. Sales rose 1% to $95 million and same-store sales increased 3.1%, while net income rose 0.07% to $3.3 million.