US grocer Winn-Dixie Stores has said it enters fiscal 2012 as “a stronger company”, despite booking a drop in full-year profits.

For the 12 months to 29 June, the company reported a net loss of US$70.1m, compared to a net profit of $28.9m last year. Winn-Dixie posted an operating loss of $25.8m, compared to operating income of $37.1m.

Sales in the period dropped by 1.4% to $6.88bn due to an extra week in Winn-Dixie’s previous financial year and a 0.1% drop in identical-store sales.

In the fourth quarter, net profit dropped by 47.8% to $7.3m, while operating profit fell by 62% to $6.2m. Sales declined 3.8% to $1.6bn.

Despite the fall in profits and sales, Winn-Dixie chairman and CEO Peter Lynch was optimistic about the year ahead.

“We enter fiscal 2012 as a stronger company and look forward to building on the momentum we have established this year as we continue to grow sales through initiatives and customer loyalty programmes such as our fuelperks rewards programme and transformational remodels,” Lynch said. “Through the first two fiscal periods of the new year, this momentum has resulted in identical-store sales growth in excess of three percent.”

The company said it expects adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2012 to be in the range of $120m to $135m. In its 2011 financial year, adjusted EBITDA was $114m.