Spartan Predicts Gains in FY 2011

After reporting a 6% drop third third-quarter sales on Wednesday, Spartan Stores here told analysts in a conference call Thursday that comps could fall another 2%, to -8%, in the fourth fiscal quarter.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After reporting a 6% drop third third-quarter sales on Wednesday, Spartan Stores here told analysts in a conference call Thursday that comps could fall another 2%, to -8%, in the fourth fiscal quarter.

By sometime in the company’s next fiscal year, however, which begins at the end of next moth, Spartan said it expects sales and earnings to improve.

“I believe there are good reasons to be optimistic as more favorable business trends begin to develop late in fiscal 2011,” said Dennis Eidson, president and chief executive officer. Product-price deflation, for example, is expected to reverse, and the company will also cycle several competitive openings.

Karen Short, a New York-based analyst with BMO Capital Markets, said she “continues to believe the company is extremely well-managed,” and said she thinks fiscal 2011 “will prove to be a slightly better year than management is forecasting.”

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