SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Bros. here said net earnings increased 6.4% to $15.4 million in the second quarter.
p 0.7% in the first half. The company said same-store results were affected by the Easter holiday, which fell in this year's first quarter and the second quarter of 1993.
Hugh G. Farrington, president and chief executive officer of the 95-store chain, said the results were in line with the company's projected financial plan.
"Our gross margin was slightly lower than last year, but the reduction was more than offset by lower selling, general and administrative expenses," he said.
Gross margins declined 7 basis points to 24.92% of sales in the quarter. Hannaford trimmed its expenses to 19.15% of sales, a reduction of 26 basis points.
Ed Comeau, a securities analyst at Lehman Bros., New York, said Hannaford's second-quarter earnings of 37 cents per share were in line with his estimate, while operating expenses were reduced more than he had expected. "That reflected pretty strong expense control in a pretty soft [sales] environment," he said.
The chain's lower gross-margin rate reflects, in part, a move to everyday-low-pricing at five stores in Vermont, he said. Those stores had been the only units in the chain operating with a high-low pricing format.