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PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway Inc. here reported flat comparable store sales and slightly declining same store sales for its first quarter March 22, 2003. Sales for the quarter were $7.54 billion, compared to $7.37 billion a year ago, primarily due to new store openings. Excluding fuel sales, comparable store sales fell 1.8 percent, while identical store sales, which excludes replacement stores, fell 2.3 percent.
Gross profit decreased 163 basis points to 29.78 percent of sales, compared to 31.41 percent for the same period last year. Gross profit was $2.2 billion, compared to $2.3 billion in 2002