Jacksonville, Florida-based supermarket chain Winn-Dixie Stores has posted net earnings of US$52.8m, or US$0.37 per diluted share, for its Q4 ended 26 June, compared to US$19.2m, or US$0.14 per diluted share, year on year. 

Year-to-date, net earnings from continuing operations were US$189.5m, or $1.35 per diluted share, as compared to US$76.8m, or US$0.55 per diluted share, for the previous year.  

On 6 May 2002, the company announced plans to exit its Texas and Oklahoma operations, consisting of 71 stores in Texas, five in Oklahoma, and the distribution centre and dairy plant in Fort Worth. Year to date, Winn-Dixie incurred a loss from the discontinued operations of US$172.8m (US$100.3m net of income tax), which included the pre-tax loss on disposal of discontinued operations of US$126.4m. 

Net (loss) earnings after loss from discontinued operations for the Q4 were (US$21.9m), or US$(0.16) per diluted share, compared to US$13m, or US$0.09 per diluted share, year on year. Year-to-date, net earnings after extraordinary item and loss from discontinued operations were US$86.9m, or US$0.62 per diluted share, compared to US$45.3m, or US$0.32 per diluted share.

Sales from continuing operations for the full year were US$2.9bn, up US$15.4m or 0.5% year on year. For the FY, sales from continuing operations were US$12.3bn, an increase of US$95.5m or 0.8% compared with the prior year. Adjusted for the timing of the Easter holiday impact of approximately 1%, identical store sales from continuing operations increased 1.2% and comparable store sales increased 1.3% for the Q4. Identical store sales decreased 2.5% and comparable store sales decreased 2.3% for the year. Identical stores include enlargements and exclude the sales from stores that opened or closed during the FY. Comparable stores include replacement stores.

Identical store sales improved during FY 2002 due largely as a result of a new marketing effort and the positive impact of the conversion of 41 locations to our SaveRite Grocery Warehouse concept. Winn-Dixie introduced a Customer Reward Card programme, which has been in use in Florida area stores since March. The Card was introduced to the company's Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia markets on 27 June. Winn-Dixie expects improvement in identical sales to continue into FY 2003 due to these efforts.

Al Rowland, president and CEO stated: "We are pleased to see positive identical store sales of 1.2% for the Q4. Our focus on sales includes our commitment to attract customers through exciting marketing programmes, including our Customer Reward Card. For FY 2003 we will continue to concentrate on the total shopping experience for our customers, as well as our own operational efficiencies."
 
For full year, Winn-Dixie opened five new stores, closed 85 and enlarged or remodelled 29, for a total of 1,073 locations in operation on 26 June 2002, compared to 1,153 on 27 June 2001.