US grocer Safeway has posted a fourth-quarter loss of US$1.1bn, blaming the loss partly on charges for a planned sale of its loss-making Dominick’s supermarkets.

The company said it decided in the fourth quarter to sell the 113-store, Chicago-based Dominick’s chain, and took a charge of $583.8m for the move. Safeway also wrote down the value of its Houston-based Randall’s, another underperforming supermarket chain, by $704.2m.

Safeway, which is based in California, has also been suffering from the effects of fierce competition from US retail giant Wal-Mart and a wavering US economy.

Safeway’s fourth-quarter net loss of $1.1bn was compared to year earlier net income of $353.6m and was the company’s first quarterly loss since 1987.

Total sales in the fourth quarter increased to $10bn from $9.9bn in the same period of the previous year. Same-store sales, however, were down 1.9%, excluding Dominick’s results, reported Reuters.