US grocer Winn-Dixie Stores has said that it managed to strengthen its results “significantly” during the second half of the year despite recording annual losses of US$70m.

In a preliminary report for the 53-week period to the end of June, Winn-Dixie said yesterday (1 August) that it expects to report a net loss of around US$70m when it issues its full-year results later this month. Last year, Winn-Dixie made net income of $27m.

Adjusted EBITDA is expected to have slid by 24% to $114m. Winn-Dixie said the result was in line with its previous forecast for its adjusted EBITDA to be “at the lower end” of a range of $100-130m.

Fourth-quarter net income is predicted to have halved from $14m to $7m and the retailer’s adjusted EBITDA is expected to have slid by 9.5% to $38m.

Over the year, Winn-Dixie said its sales are predicted to have dropped by 1.4% to $6.9bn, reflecting a 0.1% decrease in identical-store sales.

During the fourth quarter, which included an extra week, Winn-Dixie said it expects to report a 5.9% decline in net sales to around $1.6bn. However, it said its quarterly identical-store sales rose 3.2%.

“We are very pleased with our results for fiscal 2011, which fell within our previously announced guidance despite a continued inflationary environment and a waning economic recovery,” said Winn-Dixie chairman and CEO Peter Lynch. “We began the year in one of the most difficult environments in years, and by remaining true to our strategy and keenly focused on execution, we were able to strengthen our results significantly during the second half of the year.”

Winn-Dixie will publish its final fourth-quarter and full-year results on 29 August.