Increased price deflation in fresh categories contributed to a 3.3% sales decrease for SpartanNash during the fiscal fourth quarter, although cost reductions kept the bottom line safe, the company said Wednesday.
For the quarter, which ended Jan. 2, sales of $1.77 billion were down 3.3% from the same period last year, when adjusted for an extra week in last year's fourth quarter. Net earnings of $16.7 million improved by 40.9% from last year's fourth quarter, which was impacted by restructuring and merger expenses. Adjusted earnings per share of 46 cents exceeded analyst estimates of 44 cents.
“In the fourth quarter, we continued our focus on strengthening SpartanNash’s foundation and building on our core competencies,” Dennis Eidson, SpartanNash's president and CEO, said in a statement. “We continued to invest in our retail business and expand our consumer-centric merchandising and marketing programs. On the distribution side of the business, our value-added approach is gaining traction and providing access to new areas of opportunity, including a new wholesale agreement with Gordy's Market, the largest locally owned and operated grocer in the Western Wisconsin area. We continue to benefit from merger integration, as well as improved operational efficiencies in both our distribution networks and retail operations."
Sales in the Grand Rapids, Mich., company's retail division declined by 2.5% to $489.6 million, and retail comps were down by 4.6%, the company said, reflecting price deflation and increased competition in some markets. Distribution sales were down by 2.9% to $773.7 million. Both retail and distribution sales suffered as a result of fresh price deflation during the quarter.
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