LOS ANGELES — Arden Group here, parent of the 18-unit Gelson’s Markets chain, yesterday said that new labor contracts calling for reduced contributions to pension and health care funds boosted the company’s profitability for the third quarter. In the 13-week period, which ended Sept. 29, Arden posted a 54% increase in net income, to $8.88 million, on a 1.1% gain in sales, to $119.43 million. Same-store sales also rose 1.1%. The company said pension and health care expenses decreased from $5.53 million in the year-ago third quarter to $1.14 million in the current-year period, including a retroactive credit of $2.37 million. For the year-to-date span, net income was up 39.5%, to $21.85 million, on a 1.2% gain in sales, to $359.69 million.
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