SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Stater Bros. Holdings here said an extra week in the prior fiscal year resulted in a drop in sales and earnings for its fiscal year and fourth quarter, but same-store sales rose in both periods.
Net income for the 13-week quarter, which ended Sept. 29, declined 32.4% to $5 million, and sales fell 6.3% to $960.4 million, while same-store sales rose 0.6%. For the year, net income was down 19.5% to $37.7 million, and sales dropped 0.4% to $3.9 billion, while same-store sales increased 1.5%.
Fiscal 2013 was a 52-week year with a 13-week fourth quarter, compared with a 53-week year and a 14-week fourth quarter in fiscal 2012. Adjusting for the extra week, sales for this year's fourth quarter were up 0.3%, and up 1.4%, for the year.
"We've increased sales and customer counts as our valued customers have responded favorably to our marketing strategy of keeping our prices low during these continued challenging economic times, during [which] we have intentionally sacrificed some gross margin, which has affected our current-year earnings," said Jack Brown, chairman and chief executive officer.
Read more: Moody's Lowers Stater Rating
He said Stater has reduced debt over the past three years by approximately $176.5 million and plans to make an additional payment of $13.9 million to its term loan by Dec. 31 — actions that have enabled the company to lower interest costs "and invest more in our customers."
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