US regional grocery retailer Pathmark Stores has said that it expects to report a net loss for its first quarter due to steep inflation in certain categories, unproductive sales promotions and increases in medical costs.

The company, which operates 142 supermarkets in the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, said that for the first quarter to 1 May it now expects to report a net loss per diluted share between 6 and 10 cents.

Pathmark expects to report a 1.5% decline in total sales and a 1.4% drop in same-store sales for the quarter.

The retailer now expects fiscal 2004 same-store sales to be in a range between flat and up 1%, and net earnings per diluted share to be in a range of 28 to 47 cents.