FINANCIAL WATCH

FOOD LION, Salisbury, N.C., said sales for the year ended Jan. 2 rose 0.3% to $10.2 billion. Fiscal 1998 was a 52-week year, while fiscal 1997 was a 53-week year, the company pointed out. Adjusting for the extra week, prior-year sales in the company's southwest division (which was shut down in the fourth quarter of 1997) and changes in the recording of sales tax related to its loyalty-card program,

FOOD LION, Salisbury, N.C., said sales for the year ended Jan. 2 rose 0.3% to $10.2 billion. Fiscal 1998 was a 52-week year, while fiscal 1997 was a 53-week year, the company pointed out. Adjusting for the extra week, prior-year sales in the company's southwest division (which was shut down in the fourth quarter of 1997) and changes in the recording of sales tax related to its loyalty-card program, total sales for the year would have been up 6.1%, Food Lion said. The company said sales for the 16-week fourth quarter fell 1.3% to $3.18 billion, compared with $3.22 billion in the 17-week fourth quarter of 1997. Comparable-store sales rose 2.6% for the year and 3.7% for the quarter. Food Lion said it will release full results for the year and fourth quarter on Feb. 11.