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    Gelson's Q3 Sales Flat

    LOS ANGELES -- Arden Group, Inc., parent company of Gelson's Markets here, reported third-quarter sales of $113.8 million for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 1, a 0.4 percent increase over the year-ago period.

    LOS ANGELES -- Arden Group, Inc., parent company of Gelson's Markets here, reported third-quarter sales of $113.8 million for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 1, a 0.4 percent increase over the year-ago period.

    For the year to date, however, sales declined 9.1 percent, to $346.1 million from $380.6. The company said third quarter of 2004 included Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur sales, while the holidays, and their subsequent sales, fell in the fourth quarter of 2005.

    Fallout from the Southern California strike/lockout also played a role, Arden said. Gelson's did retain some of the many new shoppers it had gained during the labor strife, however, which helped make sales so far in 2005 healthier than comparable pre-strike periods.

    Factors negatively affecting 2005 sales included the cumulative effect of major construction occurring near the Gelson's Century City store, according to Arden.

    During the third quarter of 2005, operating income grew 13.1 percent, to $7.8 million from $6.9 million; but during the first nine months of 2005 it plunged 15.9 percent, from $24,1 million from $28.7 million. While the strike/lockout allowed the company to achieve significant economies of scale on incremental sales, operating income in 2005 slid because of the absence of the unusual conditions created by the labor dispute, and the effect of stock appreciation rights, Arden said.

    Gelson's operates 18 full-service supermarkets in Southern California,

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