Supermarket chain Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co, better known as A&P, has posted a narrower third quarter loss compared to the third quarter of the previous year.

A&P said its net loss was US$29.7m for the quarter to 30 November, compared to a net loss of $89.6m a year earlier.

Chairman and CEO Christian Haub said it was one of the worst quarterly performances in some time and that the company is considering options to lighten its debt load, including possible asset sales.

Haub also said that employee benefit costs were increasing at too high a level and that A&P's management was looking at ways to lessen health care costs, reported the Associated Press.

Sales dropped 2.3% to $2.47bn from $2.53bn a year earlier, while same-store sales were up 0.1%.