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”.

“”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.