US grocery retailer Safeway has said it expects to book US$43m in expenses in the first quarter to 27 March due to its recent settlement of a labour dispute.

According to the company's annual report released by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the expenses include a contribution of $34m to the union health and welfare trust and a contract ratification bonus of $9m, reported Dow Jones.

The labour dispute affected 289 Safeway stores in southern California and ran from October 2003 until February 2004.

Safeway estimated that the strike reduced its 2003 earnings by $167.5m before taxes.