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    Fresh Brands Posts Fourth-quarter Loss

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - Fresh Brands Inc., parent company of Piggly Wiggly and Dick's supermarkets, today announced a net loss of $4.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2003, due largely to restructuring charges.

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - Fresh Brands Inc., parent company of Piggly Wiggly and Dick's supermarkets, today announced a net loss of $4.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2003, due largely to restructuring charges.

    The Sheboygan, Wis.-based company said its net loss for 2003 was $0.5 million, or $0.09 per share, compared to 2002 net earnings of $8.0 million, or $1.54 per diluted share.

    The company's sales in the fourth quarter increased $19.3 million, or 13.2 percent, to $165.5 million, compared to 2002 fourth quarter sales. Sales for 2003 increased $38.9 million, or 6.3 percent, to $658.0 million, compared to 2002 sales.

    Comparable store sales for the company's owned and franchised supermarkets increased 11.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2003 and 3.6 percent during 2003, compared to the same periods of 2002. Both 2003 and the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003 had one more week than 2002 and the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002. Excluding the effects of the extra week, comparable store sales would have increased 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003 and 1.6 percent during 2003, compared to the same periods of 2002.

    The company also announced it has suspended its quarterly cash dividends indefinitely.

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