Winn-Dixie Shares Soar on Earnings Surprise

Stock in Winn-Dixie Stores rocketed by more than 30% Tuesday after the retailer here reported its post-bankruptcy turnaround program produced better-than-anticipated results during the third quarter that ended April 4.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Stock in Winn-Dixie Stores rocketed by more than 30% Tuesday after the retailer here reported its post-bankruptcy turnaround program produced better-than-anticipated results during the third quarter that ended April 4. Winn-Dixie posted net earnings of $17.8 million, vs. a loss of $29 million a year ago. Overall sales of $1.2 billion decreased slightly for the period, but identical-store sales increased by 1.6%, reflecting larger average shopping baskets driven by better store execution and customer service, the company said. An effective promotion program lifted gross margins to 27.9% of sales, up from 26.5% in the third quarter of fiscal 2006. “The results were very solid,” said Karen Short, an analyst for Friedman Billings Ramsey, New York, told SN. “They did a really good job of balancing sales and margins.”

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