TOPS Holding Co., the parent company of US supermarket chain Tops Markets, saw its net losses widen during 2010, despite losses narrowing in the fourth quarter.

The retailer yesterday (31 March) recorded a US$26.9m net loss for the year ended 1 January 2010 against a $25.6m net loss in 2009.

For the fourth quarter, Tops’s net loss decreased to $13.8m against a net loss of $24.3m in the same period of 2009. However, the fourth quarter result in 2009 was hit by an income tax expense resulting from a $13.9m deferred tax asset valuation allowance – as well as a $7.3m loss on debt extinguishment associated with the company’s October 2009 debt refinancing.

Tops’s net sales for the year were up 33.1% to $2.26bn due to the acquired Penn Traffic supermarkets, which contributed $553m and a 29.1% increase in gasoline sales.

For the fourth quarter, net sales were up 25.1% to $530.8m. Tops said “inside sales” – sales excluding fuel – were up 25.8% in the fourth quarter to reach $493m, which the company attributed to the Penn Traffic supermarkets and the opening of a new supermarket.

Comparable store sales fell 0.7% during the fourth quarter.

Commenting on the results, Rick Mills, senior vice president and chief financial officer said: “Given the challenging operating environment this past year, our inside sales results truly reflect how successful our sales and marketing programs were in building the overall business and regaining lost Penn Traffic customers.”