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    Nash Finch's Second-Quarter Earnings Decline

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Nash Finch Co. posted a drop in second-quarter earnings, hurt by weak retail sales and fierce competition in the supermarket sector.

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Nash Finch Co. posted a drop in second-quarter earnings, hurt by weak retail sales and fierce competition in the supermarket sector.
    For the fiscal quarter ended June 14, the company's profit fell to $7.3 million, or 61 cents per share, from $9.5 million, or 78 per share, a year earlier.
    Sales fell to $888.6 million, down from $908.3 million a year earlier. Nash Finch said it continues to expect 2003 earnings to range between $2.29 and $2.35 per diluted share, or $2.49 to $2.55, excluding payments for bond indenture and bank credit facility waivers.

    "We are encouraged with the improvement in the second-quarter results relative to the first quarter," said c.e.o. Ron Marshall. "Sales to new food distribution customers greatly reduced the sales gap compared to last year. Our retail segment profit rebounded due to improved operational execution in both gross margin and expense control. While we remain concerned about the extremely competitive environment and a very difficult economy, the gains made during the second quarter have positioned us well for the future."

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