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CARTERET, N.J. - Pathmark Stores Inc. today reported results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2003 ended Jan. 31. Sales were $1,012.5 million, a 1.0 percent increase from the prior year's fourth quarter. Same-store sales rose 1.6 percent.
Pathmark's net earnings were $9.6 million or $0.32 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003 compared to $7.9 million or $0.26 per diluted share in the prior year's fourth quarter. The results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003 included a previously announced $1.6 million pre-tax interest charge ($0.9 million after tax) related to the early extinguishment of $51 million of the company's term loan.
"I am pleased with our sales and operating performance for the fourth quarter," said c.e.o. Eileen Scott. "In terms of the top line, we achieved our fourth consecutive quarterly increase in same-store sales, despite a continuation in the challenging market conditions we have experienced throughout the year. In addition, we benefited from the merchandising and expense control initiatives we launched early in the year, which continued to drive solid operating results."
Looking ahead, Scott noted: "While we continue to expect that our sales and operating initiatives will result in increased sales, gross profit improvements and reduced expenses, we anticipate the benefits derived from these initiatives will be largely offset by increases in pension and health and welfare expenses, an issue facing our entire industry."
For fiscal 2004, Pathmark expects to open two stores, close one store and complete 20 store renovations.