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    A&P Quarterly Net Jumps

    MONTVALE, N.J. - Regional grocer Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. on Friday reported a sharp increase in quarterly net profit as it cut costs to counter slower sales growth.

    MONTVALE, N.J. - Regional grocer Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. on Friday reported a sharp increase in quarterly net profit as it cut costs to counter slower sales growth.

    Montvale, N.J.-based A&P said its net income in the fiscal first quarter ended June 14 rose to $20.3 million, or 52 cents per share, from $1.9 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier.

    But excluding discontinued operations, ongoing operating loss per share in the quarter widened to 53 cents a share, compared with ongoing operating earnings of 11 cents a share last year.

    A&P said the economic and operating environment continued to put pressure on sales and profitability. Its quarterly sales were $3.2 billion, little changed from $3.1 billion a year ago. Sales from supermarkets open at least a year fell 0.1 percent.

    Chairman of the board, president & CEO Christian Haub said, "We have maintained our focus on strengthening our financial position, lowering costs, stabilizing our U.S. business and continuing our success in Canada. Our program to divest non-strategic assets moved forward in the first quarter, with the sale of our retail operations in northern New England and Madison, Wisconsin.

    "Clearly, the economic and operating environment continues to challenge top and bottom line progress. However, I am confident that the operating and merchandising disciplines as well as cost management being implemented in our U.S. operations and strengthened in our Canadian operations will provide the foundation for better performance in the future."

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