FOOD TOWN ACQUISITION BOOSTS SPARTAN RESULTS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Spartan Stores here said the acquisition of Food Town helped boost sales and earnings for the year and fourth quarter ended March 31.llion and net income was $3.3 million, compared with a loss, excluding discontinued operations, of $170,000 a year ago, which resulted largely from a $1.3 million writeoff of convenience store distribution software.Discontinued operations include

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Spartan Stores here said the acquisition of Food Town helped boost sales and earnings for the year and fourth quarter ended March 31.

llion and net income was $3.3 million, compared with a loss, excluding discontinued operations, of $170,000 a year ago, which resulted largely from a $1.3 million writeoff of convenience store distribution software.

Discontinued operations include Spartan's insurance segment, which was divested during the year.

Spartan said same-store sales in its retail grocery segment rose 6.5% for the year and 7.7% for the quarter.

James. B. Meyer, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said Spartan anticipates revenue growth of 5% to 7% this year, excluding future acquisitions, and earnings ranging from $1.46 to $1.52 per share.

"It has been a very busy and successful year for Spartan," Meyer said, "but we are not satisfied resting on past success and plan to drive sales, profit and earnings improvements to higher levels in the coming years. We remain enthusiastic about our retail and grocery distribution business strategy, along with our ability to further improve our financial results. During this fiscal year, we will continue integrating our acquisitions, fully realizing the synergies we have been expecting.

"While we have already made some improvements in our distribution operations, we still have considerable room to further improve the efficiency of this segment," he added.

Examples of improvements still under way, he said, include implementation of a store decor program in western Michigan that began in April; installation of a new retail point-of-sale system to establish a common technology platform; and the launch of a plan to share with distribution customers the same marketing programs as in the retail stores.

"This will provide us with the buying power of a much larger store base while helping to improve our distribution customers' profits and operating costs," Meyer said.