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LOS ANGELES - Arden Group, Inc., parent company of Gelson's Markets, which operates 18 supermarkets in Southern California has posted results showing comparable-store sales increased 12.2 percent and 26.4 percent during the 13 and 39 weeks ended Oct. 2, respectively, over the same periods of 2003.
During the fourth quarter of 2003 and the first quarter of 2004, sales increased significantly as a result of the Southern California strike/lockout. Since the February settlement, sales declined significantly, as customers returned to their previous shopping patterns. However, sales are still greater than comparable pre-strike periods, since the company has been successful in retaining some of the new shoppers who came to Gelson's during the labor dispute. Sales were negatively affected during the last week of the third quarter of 2004 as the Century City store was closed for three weeks due to construction at the shopping center in which it is located.
During the third quarter and first nine months of 2004, operating income increased 49.2 percent and 113.9 percent, respectively, as opposed to the same periods of the prior year. The company achieved some economies of scale as a result of the increased sales. In the 39 weeks ended Oct. 2, some of these savings were offset by approximately $2,200,000 in bonus payments to company employees who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers. Additionally, the company recognized compensation expense related to stock appreciation rights of $798,000 in the first nine months of 2004, compared with $157,000 in the year-ago period.