The chief of US retailer A&P said yesterday (12 May) that the company had unveiled “respectable” results during the fourth quarter of its fiscal year – despite same-store sales falling and its losses widening.

The company, which runs 436 stores in eight US states, saw reported losses from continuing operations of US$83.4m in the three months to  28 February – compared to a loss of $44.6m a year earlier.

Sales stood at US$2.3bn, compared to $2.2bn during A&P’s fiscal 2008 fourth quarter, which contained one less week.

Comparable-store sales fell 1.3% when measured over the comparable 13-week period.

Nevertheless, A&P president and CEO Eric Claus preferred to focus on the group’s “positive cash flow” and “improved adjusted EBITDA”.

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“”We are pleased that we were able to deliver respectable results for this latest quarter and for the year in this unprecedented time of economic recession,” Claus said.

A&P’s adjusted EBITDA for its fiscal fourth quarter stood at US$84.7m, compared to US$72.2m in the 12-week fourth quarter last year.

Over the full year, A&P booked a reported loss from continuing operations of US$86.2m. A year earlier, A&P made income of US$87m, although that figure included a US$184.5m gain on the sale of shares in Canadian retailer Metro Inc.

Full-year sales reached US$9.5bn, boosted by an extra week but higher than the US$6.4bn booked a year earlier.

Comparable-store sales rose 2% for A&P and by 0.8% for the group’s Pathmark stores, which were acquired in December 2007.

Adjusted EBITDA reached US$326m over the year, against $159.4m a year earlier.