ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- For the first quarter ended April 2, Carr Gottstein Foods here reported increased earnings and sales.
Net income increased 9.1% to $1.2 million from $1.1 million in the period a year ago.
Overall, sales were up 4.5% to $139.1 million from $133.1 million.
Comparable-store sales fell 0.5% at the company's Carrs Quality Centers super combination units, but rose 0.5% at its smaller Eagle Quality Centers.
The company said that same-store sales have continued to improve since the second quarter of 1994, when they were down more than 7% due to store openings by competitors.
"We have made steady progress over the last three quarters and, adjusted for Easter, would have shown positive comps this quarter in the Carrs stores," said Mark R. Williams, president and chief executive officer.
Easter, an important holiday for retail grocery sales, occurred in the second quarter this year, unlike 1994 when it was included in first-quarter results.
Williams said this year looks promising. The company's new 62,000-square-foot Carrs store in Juneau, which opened earlier this year, "has been well received," he said.
Furthermore, Carr Gottstein is planning to enter into a sale-leaseback transaction with an institutional equity investor and Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund, as reported. The chain said it will use the estimated $100 million it will receive from the sale of 12 retail units and a distribution center to reduce debt.
The company currently operates 38 stores throughout the state, as well as Alaska's only full-line food warehouse and distribution center and its largest freight company.