TRUSTEE OBJECTS TO WINN-DIXIE PLAN

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The U.S. Trustee for the Winn-Dixie Stores Chapter 11 reorganization plan said in a court filing here that she objected to certain sections of Winn-Dixie's bankruptcy reorganization plan pertaining to the payment of professional fees without court review.Several firms provided financial and legal services to members of the creditors' committee and are seeking payment of about

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The U.S. Trustee for the Winn-Dixie Stores Chapter 11 reorganization plan said in a court filing here that she objected to certain sections of Winn-Dixie's bankruptcy reorganization plan pertaining to the payment of professional fees without court review.

Several firms provided financial and legal services to members of the creditors' committee and are seeking payment of about $1.5 million. She also objected to certain other professional fees and the release of certain non-debtor entities from liability.

A Winn-Dixie spokesman said the chain intended to resolve the objections before the Oct. 13 confirmation vote.

Separately, Winn-Dixie reported a loss of $361 million on sales of $7.2 billion for the year that ended June 28. Identical-stores sales rose 5.9%, due in part to the impact of Hurricane Katrina, which reduced competition in some areas and increased population in others. The company in its annual report said it did not anticipate that identical-store sales would maintain their 2006 level for fiscal 2007 as sales in hurricane-affected areas stabilize.

The company said gross margin was 25.9% of sales in 2006, vs. 26.1% in the preceding year. Pricing and promotional programs accounted for a decline of about 50 basis points in gross margin, the company said. The company also said it had a reduction in vendor allowances and cash discounts.

"Many vendors have shifted from slotting fees to promotional programs that are tied to purchase volumes," the company said, noting that its total purchase volumes have declined.