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    Albertsons Posts Second-Quarter Sales Decline; Earnings Outpace Estimates

    BOISE, Idaho -- Albertsons, Inc. here today said its second quarter sales reached $9.053 billion, an increase of $112 million over the $8.941 billion for the same period last year. However, comparable store sales declined 0.9 percent, while identical store sales declined 1.3 percent. During the period earnings per diluted share were 44 cents, exceeding the First Call Consensus of industry analysts.

    BOISE, Idaho -- Albertsons, Inc. here today said its second quarter sales reached $9.053 billion, an increase of $112 million over the $8.941 billion for the same period last year. However, comparable store sales declined 0.9 percent, while identical store sales declined 1.3 percent. During the period earnings per diluted share were 44 cents, exceeding the First Call Consensus of industry analysts.

    "The economic and competitive environment remained difficult during the second quarter; however, we were encouraged that we were able to successfully grow our share position vs. our traditional competitors, as well as exceed Wall Street expectations," said Larry Johnston, chairman and c.e.o. "We are also pleased to be able to reaffirm our previously stated earnings guidance of $1.70-$1.75 per share for fiscal year 2003. Although our second -uarter comp store sales were slightly negative, we are very encouraged to see that our new pricing and promotional programs, which were developed and rolled out during the second quarter, are beginning to gain traction. Our third-quarter sales velocity reflects this, as our comp store sales for the first four weeks of the quarter have been positive."

    During the second quarter Albertsons invested heavily in technology, installing 4,000 self-checkout lanes, completing the construction of one of the world's largest real-time data warehouses, and installing a new labor management system in four divisions.

    Also during the quarter, Albertsons paid an overall dividend yield of 3.8 percent, opened 22 new stores, and remodeled 56 locations. The company's banners include Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Acme Markets, Albertsons-Osco, Albertsons-Sav-on, Sav-on Drugs, Osco Drug, Max Foods, and Super Saver.

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