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    UK Safeway Says Refurbishment Program Affected Sales

    LONDON - The UK Safeway today said sales for the year to late March rose 5 percent to 9.4 billion pounds, but acknowledged that its long-running store refurbishment program has cut sales growth, BBC News reports.

    LONDON - The UK Safeway today said that pre-tax profits for the year to late March rose 11 percent on the previous year to 355 million pounds, while sales rose 5 percent to 9.4 billion pounds. However, the retailer acknowledged that its long-running store refurbishment program has cut sales growth, BBC News reports.

    While Safeway said its refurbishment program continued on schedule, with 71 stores now refitted, it admitted that in-store construction work deterred some shoppers, trimming sales growth during the final six months of the year.

    "During the second half, the sales lost from stores undergoing transformation was greater than the sales gained from those relaunched," the company said in a statement.

    But Safeway predicted that revenue growth will pick up again as the store overhaul nears completion.

    "We expect performance in the remainder of our first quarter to progressively strengthen as the pace of new format store relaunches picks up," said Safeway chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez.

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