WESTERN BEEF SALES OFF, NET GAINS IN QUARTER

RIDGEWOOD, N.Y. -- Western Beef here said volume declines in its distribution business had a negative impact on overall sales, while earnings rose for the second quarter and 26 weeks ended July 3. half.Sales in the company's 20-store retail division increased to $6.1 million for the quarter and $117.4 million for the half. The company said sales benefited from inclusion of the July 4 holiday in this

RIDGEWOOD, N.Y. -- Western Beef here said volume declines in its distribution business had a negative impact on overall sales, while earnings rose for the second quarter and 26 weeks ended July 3.

half.

Sales in the company's 20-store retail division increased to $6.1 million for the quarter and $117.4 million for the half. The company said sales benefited from inclusion of the July 4 holiday in this year's quarter, as well as incremental sales from two new stores -- the company's first Junior's Food Outlet, a limited-assortment format, in late March in Queens, and a new Western Beef supermarket in mid-June in Manalapan, N.J.

The company said same-store sales in the retail division dropped 1.1% for the quarter and 0.3% for the half after adjusting for an additional week in this year's half.

Sales in the company's meat and poultry distribution business declined to $14.8 million for the quarter and $28.9 million for the half, "continuing to reflect tightening of credit policies initiated in 1997," the company said.