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    Arden Group First-quarter Profits Triple

    COMPTON, Calif. - Arden Group Inc., parent company of Gelson's Markets, said its first-quarter earnings more than tripled as it gained customers during the California supermarket strike and lockout, reports the Los Angeles Times.

    COMPTON, Calif. - Arden Group Inc., parent company of Gelson's Markets, said its first-quarter earnings more than tripled as it gained customers during the California supermarket strike and lockout, reports the Los Angeles Times.

    The 4 1/2-month labor strike, which lasted until the end of February, affected more than 59,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers at Albertsons, Kroger's Ralphs subsidiary, and Safeway's Vons and Pavilions stores. Gelson's grocery clerks also were UFCW members, but had agreed before the labor dispute to continue working under a contract extension.

    Arden Group said earnings for the 17-store chain rose to $8.6 million, or $2.53 a share, compared with $2.8 million, or 82 cents, a year earlier, while its sales rose 48 percent to $148.4 million from $100.4 million.

    Analysts said Arden Group's improved results were similar to record first-quarter sales and earnings reported by the 158-store Colton, Calif.-based Stater Bros. chain, whose quarterly earnings soared to $34.6 million for the period that ended in December, compared with $2.9 million a year earlier.

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