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    Safeway Reports Fourth-quarter Loss

    PLEASANTON, Calif. - Safeway Inc. on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.05 billion, due in large part to accounting rules that forced the retailer to acknowledge the diminishing value of the Randall's and Dominick's chains.

    PLEASANTON, Calif. - Safeway Inc. on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.05 billion, due in large part to accounting rules that forced the retailer to acknowledge the diminishing value of the Randall's and Dominick's chains.

    The loss of $2.37 per share contrasted with a profit of $353.6 million, or 70 cents per share, during the same time in the previous year.

    Safeway, which ranks behind market leader Kroger Co., decided in the fourth quarter to go ahead with the sale of Dominick's and took a $583.8 million charge for the move. It also wrote down the value of Houston-based Randall's, its other poorly performing supermarket division, by $704.2 million.

    The company said total sales in the recent quarter increased to $10 billion from $9.9 billion, mainly as a result of new store openings. But identical-store sales dipped 1.9 percent.

    Safeway said same-store sales have improved from the fourth-quarter thus far. It forecast an unspecified increase in operating and administrative expenses in the first quarter due to wage and benefit costs.

    Shares of the company were down 38 cents at $21.61 in morning New York Stock Exchange trade.

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