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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. on Wednesday reported higher earnings for its first quarter of fiscal 2003 as it closed unprofitable stores and sharpened its marketing strategy.
Sales from continuing operations for the 12 weeks ended Sept. 18 were $2.8 billion, an increase of $25.0 million or 0.9 percent vs. the same quarter last year. Identical store sales, which include enlargements and exclude the stores that opened or closed during the period, increased 2.0 percent. Comparable store sales, which include replacement stores, increased 2.1 percent for the quarter.
Net earnings were $34.8 million, or $0.25 per diluted share compared to $22.4 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, an increase of 55.3 percent. Net earnings from continuing operations for the 12 weeks ended Sept. 18 were $34.8 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, an increase of $3.7 million or 12.0 percent when compared with the same quarter last year.
Increased earnings were primarily due to improved sales and gross margins as a result of the company's marketing initiatives, improvements in procurement and shrink reduction initiatives. The improved earnings were achieved despite costs related to the "Customer Reward Card" rollout in the Montgomery and New Orleans divisions.
"Our increase in identical store sales, in the face of a weak economy, is evidence that we are improving operations and that our marketing efforts are in tune with our customers' needs. This is particularly rewarding when many of our major competitors' results are negative. We are committed to a strategic plan that provides for sustainable, profitable growth," said president and CEO Al Rowland.
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