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    A&P Posts Fourth-quarter Loss

    MONTVALE, N.J. - Regional grocer Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. on Friday said it swung to a quarterly loss, but said it has taken "decisive action" to reverse the declines.

    MONTVALE, N.J. - Regional grocer Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. on Friday said it swung to a quarterly loss, but said it has taken "decisive action" to reverse the declines.

    The Montvale, N.J.-based company, which operates stores under such names as A&P, Waldbaum's and Food Emporium, said sales for the fourth quarter were $2.52 billion, compared with $2.51 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001. Comparable store sales increased .5 percent. Earnings per share were a loss of $.54 for the quarter, compared with a profit of $.52 in the prior year.

    The current quarter includes a one-time gain of $12.9 million, or 34 cents per share, from early debt retirement.

    "We have taken decisive action to halt the decline of our overall results, and to ensure the company's ongoing financial health," said chairman and CEO Christian Haub in a statement. "We restructured our organization, reduced costs, commenced the sale of non-strategic assets to lower our debt, and secured financing necessary to meet our needs going forward. We believe that our management changes and these actions have begun to stabilize our business in the U.S. I remain confident that we will improve our U.S. operations while continuing to drive success in Canada."

    For the full year, sales were $10.79 billion, compared with $10.97 billion in fiscal 2001. Comparable store sales increased .4 percent. Earnings per share were a loss of $5.03 for fiscal year 2002, compared with a loss of $1.88 in the prior year.

    The company currently operates 695 stores in 15 states, the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada under the following trade names: A&P, Waldbaum's, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Super Fresh, Farmer Jack, Kohl's, Sav-A-Center, Dominion, The Barn Markets and Food Basics and Ultra Food & Drug.

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