Arden Pays Special Dividend as Sales Sink

Arden Group, parent of the Gelson’s Markets chain, said Tuesday that its board of directors had approved a special $25-per-share dividend for shareholders despite falling quarterly sales and earnings.

LOS ANGELES — Arden Group, parent of the Gelson’s Markets chain, said Tuesday that its board of directors had approved a special $25-per-share dividend for shareholders despite falling quarterly sales and earnings. The $79 million payment to Class A shareholders — $45 million of which would go to Bernard Briskin, chairman and chief executive officer and holder of 57% of the company’s Class A stock — recognizes Arden’s “strong financial position, including its cash, marketable securities and positive cash flow,” the company said in a statement.

The dividend announcement accompanied news that Arden’s sales decreased 4.2% to $114.2 million during the third quarter that ended Sept. 27, as a result of increased competition, a slow economy and rising prices, and the shift of the Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana holiday sales to the fourth quarter. Same-store sales fell by 4.4%. Net income of $4.1 million, or $1.30 per share, was down 53.7% compared with the same period last year.

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