FOOD LION OVERCOMES DIP TO POST STRONG EARNINGS

SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here reported strong earnings for the second quarter of 1997, despite a dip in same-store sales and increased competition in the Southeast. 7 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with $48.6 million, or 10 cents per share, in the second quarter of 1996. The company said same-store sales declined 0.2% for the quarter. However, its net margin of 2.1% was above the industry

SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here reported strong earnings for the second quarter of 1997, despite a dip in same-store sales and increased competition in the Southeast.

7 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with $48.6 million, or 10 cents per share, in the second quarter of 1996. The company said same-store sales declined 0.2% for the quarter. However, its net margin of 2.1% was above the industry average 1.2%.

"I am proud to report that Food Lion has continued to maintain its leading market share in its key Southeast markets through customer convenience and 'extra low prices,' " said Tom Smith, president and chief executive officer. "While increased competition in the Southeast and soft sales across the supermarket industry have impacted sales growth so far this year, our long-term commitment to expense control and successful category management has resulted in continued strong earnings."

During the quarter, Food Lion opened nine new stores, including the relocation of four existing stores.

The company also relocated one Kash n' Karry store and closed seven underperforming Kash n' Karry units in Florida. Food Lion, which currently operates 1,200 supermarkets, said it will open 60 new stores this year. The company also said the integration of its Kash n' Karry subsidiary is on schedule.