FRED MEYER INC. REPORTS 3RD-QUARTER SALES HIKE

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fred Meyer, Inc., here said acquisitions over the past two years boosted sales and operating cash flow to record levels for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended Nov. 7. or the current year encompass operations of Fred Meyer Stores, Smith's and QFC for the full period and Ralphs from March 10, while 1997 results include Fred Meyer Stores and QFC for the full period and Smith's from

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fred Meyer, Inc., here said acquisitions over the past two years boosted sales and operating cash flow to record levels for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended Nov. 7.

or the current year encompass operations of Fred Meyer Stores, Smith's and QFC for the full period and Ralphs from March 10, while 1997 results include Fred Meyer Stores and QFC for the full period and Smith's from Sept. 9, 1997.

Fred Meyer, Inc., has agreed to be acquired early next year by Kroger Co., Cincinnati. Sales rose 78.7% to $3.5 billion for the quarter and 120.6% to $11 billion for the year to date, while comparable-store sales -- excluding 18 Smitty's stores in the Phoenix area and 55 Hughes Family Markets in the Los Angeles area, which are being remodeled and/or remerchandised -- rose 3.4% for the quarter and 2.4% for the 40 weeks. The company said operating cash flow increased 103.3% for the quarter to $292.7 million, or 8.4% of sales, compared with $144 million, or 7.4% of sales, a year ago; and 152.4% for the 40-week period to $898.9 million, or 8.2% of sales, compared with $356.2 million, or 7.1% of sales, a year ago.

Net income for the quarter was $28.8 million, compared with a loss a year ago, while the company said it had a loss for the 40-week period in both years.

The company said earnings for the quarter were impacted by a charge of $33.7 million for merger-related costs and merger-integration costs and an extraordinary charge of $300,000 for early extinguishment of debt.

Without merger-related and extraordinary charges, the company said net income would have been up 73.5% for the quarter to $49.8 million, or 31 cents per share, and 70.4% for the year to date to $137.3 million, or 86 cents.

Robert G. Miller, vice chairman and chief executive officer, said the company was pleased with its operating results "and our progress in integrating our recently acquired companies, and we expect further improvement as additional integration efforts are completed in the fourth quarter of 1998 and the first half of 1999."

With the addition of more food operations to its store base, the percentage of nonfood sales at Fred Meyer, Inc., is declining, the company said.