Winn-Dixie Stores, the US grocer, yesterday (26 October) highlighted stabilising traffic numbers despite lowering its annual guidance on falling sales and profits.

The company saw net sales dip 2% to US$1.6bn for the three months to 16 September. Identical-store sales fell 1.5%.

The slide in turnover and fall in identical-store sales contributed to widening net losses at Winn-Dixie.

The company reported a net loss of $8.1m, which included an impairment charge of $3.5m related to six stores. The result compared with a net loss of $2.3m for the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

Chairman, CEO and president Peter Lynch said: "Identical-store sales declined due to the absence of storm-related sales that we experienced last year and a shift by consumers towards generic pharmaceuticals. These factors, coupled with deflationary trends in many of the items we sell, led to a decline in basket size for the chain."

"However, we're pleased that transaction count was flat in the current quarter, compared to the negative levels we experienced through most of the prior fiscal year. It is very encouraging that customers continue to shop at our stores to enjoy our fresh and local offerings even though the economy is limiting their grocery budgets."

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $22.8m, compared to adjusted EBITDA of $27m in the same period last year.

The numbers meant Winn-Dixie now sees adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $140-160m for the full fiscal year. In July, the company forecast annual EBITDA of $170-180m.