US retailer Winn-Dixie Stores, at its annual shareholders’ meeting today [Wednesday], announced sales up 0.9% for its first quarter of fiscal 2003.
Sales from continuing operations for the 12 weeks ended 18 September 2002 were US$2.8bn, an increase of $25.0m or 0.9% when compared with the same quarter last year. For the quarter, identical store sales, which include enlargements and exclude the stores that opened or closed during the period, increased 2.0%. Comparable store sales, which include replacement stores, increased 2.1% for the quarter.
Net earnings were $34.8m, or $0.25 per diluted share compared to $22.4m, or $0.16 per diluted share, an increase of 55.3%, the company said. Net earnings from continuing operations for the 12 weeks ended 18 September 2002 were $34.8m, or $0.25 per diluted share, an increase of $3.7m or 12.0% when compared with the same quarter last year. Increased earnings were primarily due to improved sales and gross margins as a result of the company’s marketing initiatives, improvements in procurement and shrink reduction initiatives. The improved earnings were achieved despite costs related to the “Customer Reward Card” rollout in the Montgomery and New Orleans divisions.
During the 12 weeks ended 18 September 2002, the company opened two new stores and closed two existing stores. A total of 1,073 locations were in operation on 18 September 2002, compared to 1,153 on 19 September 2001. During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2002, the company closed 76 stores related to discontinued operations. As of 18 September 2002, retail space totaled 47.5m sq ft compared to 51.1m sq ft in the prior year.