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    Smart & Final Announces 4 Percent Sales Increase in First Quarter

    LOS ANGELES - Smart & Final Inc. today reported net income of $163,000, or $0.01 per diluted share, for the 12-week quarter ended March 23, 2003. First-quarter 2002 net income was $587,000, or $0.02 per diluted share.

    LOS ANGELES - Smart & Final Inc. today reported net income of $163,000, or $0.01 per diluted share, for the 12-week quarter ended March 23, 2003. First-quarter 2002 net income was $587,000, or $0.02 per diluted share.

    Total company sales for the first quarter increased 4.0 percent to $462.4 million. Store sales increased 5.4 percent to $368.9 million, with comparable store sales up 3.9 percent for the quarter. Overall, broadline foodservice distribution sales declined 1.4 percent to $93.5 million in the quarter. Sales in the Florida foodservice unit declined 2.0 percent to $56.3 million, while sales in the northern California foodservice unit declined 0.6 percent to $37.2 million.

    Ross Roeder, chairman and CEO, said, "Our first quarter comparable store sales increase of 3.9 percent continues to demonstrate the underlying strength of our store concepts, in what was for most food retailers a very difficult quarter. Both our Smart & Final stores and our Cash & Carry stores posted solid growth in both sales and margin rates despite a highly competitive environment and continued overall weakness in the general economy."

    Roeder said the company has begun an aggressive operational restructuring of its northern California unit, and by late April, it will complete the transfer of distribution for its northern California Smart & Final format stores from the Stockton, Calif. facility shared with the broadline operations, to its primary stores distribution center in Commerce, Calif. "Looking forward, the reduced scale and single focus of operations in Stockton should provide the opportunity for additional operating cost reductions and efficiencies, which are crucial to successful restructuring of this foodservice unit," he noted.

    A total of three new or relocated stores were opened during the first quarter, in San Jose, Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; and Tigard, Ore. At the end of the 2003 first quarter the company operated 242 stores compared with 235 stores at the end of the 2002 first quarter.

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