US grocery retailer Albertsons has reported a fall in second-quarter earnings, as its results continue to be impacted by the labour dispute in Southern California.

The company reported net earnings of US$104m, or 28 cents per share, for the second quarter to 29 July 2004, compared to $162m, or 44 cents per share, in the same period of last year. Earnings from continuing operations slid to $125m, or 34 cents per share, beating the First Call consensus of industry analysts of 33 cents per share.

Sales rose to $10.19bn from $8.97bn. This increase was due primarily to sales volume from the Shaw's acquisition and was partially offset by the residual effect of the Southern California labour dispute, which the company estimates negatively impacted total sales by approximately $182m.

Second-quarter earnings were hit by the continuing impact of the Southern California labour dispute, which reduced earnings by 13 cents per share or $50m, and health and welfare contributions in Northern California. Excluding these items, second-quarter earnings from continuing operations would have been 48 cents per share or $180m.

Total company comparable store sales for the quarter (including the continued effects of the Southern California labour dispute) declined 1.3% and identical store sales declined 1.5%.