Grocery supplier Smart & Final has released slightly improved fourth quarter and full year sales figures.

The US-based company posted 52-week sales of US$2bn for the 2005 financial year – an increase of 2.4% compared with $1.95bn for the company’s 53-week previous year. Adjusted growth rate was up 4.4%.

Full year 2005 comparable sales, adjusted for the effect of the extra week in 2004, increased 2.6% over the 2004 level.

Smart & Final reported a fall in 2005 fourth quarter sales to US$456.8m, compared with $471.2m for the same period last year. Comparable store sales increased 2.9% over the prior year period. However an extended fourth quarter in 2004 meant that adjusted net sales actually increased 5.3% for the fourth quarter.

Income from continuing operations increased, at $9.4m for the fourth quarter of 2005, compared to $4.8m over the fourth quarter of 2004.

Smart & Final president and chief executive officer Etienne Snollaerts said: “Although comparisons with the prior year fourth quarter are a little more difficult because of a difference in the number of weeks, we had continuing good performance with total adjusted sales growth of 5.3% and comparable store sales growth of 2.9%.

“In both of our store formats we had growth in the average transaction amounts, despite a continued strong competitive environment and some deflationary price pressure.”

The company opened eight new stores in the fourth quarter, with 15 opened in altogether in the 2005 financial year.