SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Stater Bros. Holdings here said Tuesday an after-tax gain a year ago resulted in an 81% decline in net earnings for the first fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 26.
Net income was $1.3 million, compared with $6.7 million a year ago, which included an after tax gain of $4.7 million for the sale of its dairy assets. First-quarter earnings also included after-tax charges of $3 million involving one-time costs from the company's refinancing. Without those costs, net profits for the recent quarter would have been approximately $4.3 million, the company said.
Sales for the quarter fell 2.3% to $899 million, and comparable-store sales also fell 2.3%.
During the quarter the company completed a tender offer that enabled it to retire $479.9 millon of its $525-million senior notes, financed at 8.125%, and it subsequently retired the remaining $45.1 million, funded through the issuance of $255 million of unregistered 7.375% senior notes due in November 2018; entering into a $145-million secured term loan with a consortium of banks; and using cash on hand.
According to Jack Brown, chairman and chief executive officer, "We are excited to have been able to reduce our overall debt load and to refinance a significant portion of our debt at lower rates, which will reduce our interest expense. We will be able to use the savings from our debt reduction to continue to provide value and quality [to customers]."