SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Stater Bros. Holdings said yesterday efforts to keep prices down resulted in strong sales but flat earnings for the second quarter that ended March 30. Net income for the 13-week quarter was $13.5 million, identical to net income a year ago, while sales rose 7% to $925.4 million and comparable-store sales climbed 3.7%, excluding shifts in the Christmas and Easter holidays. For the year to date, net income rose 4.3% to $24.3 million, with sales up 5.5% to $1.9 billion and comps up 3.5%, excluding the shifts. Phil Smith, executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer, said gross profit margins fell 111 basis points to $27.68% in the quarter and 95 basis points to 27.80% in the half "due to not passing on inflation in product costs and investment of gross margin to increase sales." He also said comps sales in the third quarter are similar to second-quarter levels. Jack Brown, chairman and chief executive officer, said Mother's Day floral sales were "a little softer" than Stater had expected, "which has a direct relationship to the economy."
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