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    Albertsons Reports Lower-than-expected 1Q Earnings

    BOISE, Idaho - Albertsons Inc. on Thursday reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the fiscal first quarter, citing intense competition and the weak economy.

    BOISE, Idaho - Albertsons Inc. on Thursday reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the fiscal first quarter, citing intense competition and the weak economy.

    For the quarter ended May 1, Albertsons posted net income of $172 million, or 47 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $165 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier.

    The latest result was three cents a share below the mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call, according to a Dow Jones newswires report.

    Sales in the first quarter edged up to $8.94 billion from $8.92 billion. "The first quarter yielded a much tougher than expected economic and competitive climate. Even as the war ended we saw no improvement," Larry Johnston, Albertsons chairman and chief executive, said in a prepared statement. The food and drug retailer is now forecasting earnings per share of $1.70 to $1.75 for the year.

    Peter Lynch, president & COO, commented on the quarter, "Customer service levels, price competitiveness, and private label penetration all improved during the quarter. These are extremely positive indicators that show our company and our brands are becoming stronger even during a tougher than expected environment."

    Albertson's board of directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share.

    Albertsons employs more than 200,000 associates and operates approximately 2,300 retail stores across the United States, under banners including Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Sav-on Drugs, Osco Drug, Albertsons-Osco, Albertsons-Sav-on, Max Foods and Super Saver.

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