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    Nash Finch Third Quarter Earnings Increase 50%

    MINNEAPOLIS - Food retailer and distributor Nash Finch Company today reported that net earnings rose 50 percent to $6.0 million for the third quarter ended October 6, 2001, compared to net earnings of $4.0 million reported for the third quarter of 2000.

    MINNEAPOLIS - Food retailer and distributor Nash Finch Company today reported that net earnings rose 50 percent to $6.0 million for the third quarter ended October 6, 2001, compared to net earnings of $4.0 million reported for the third quarter of 2000. Total revenues for the third quarter of 2001 were $1.275 billion vs. revenues of $1.205 billion for the third quarter of 2000, a 6 percent increase.

    "This is our eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in comparable earnings and we are very pleased with our performance," said Ron Marshall, president and CEO. "Our ongoing focus on outstanding execution, continual improvement and cost elimination continues to drive the company's results."

    Revenues in Nash Finch's retail segment for the third quarter of 2001 were $314.9 million compared to revenues of $322.3 million in the third quarter of 2000, a 2 percent decrease. Retail segment profit in the third quarter 2001 improved by 23 percent to $12.7 million, compared to $10.3 million in the third quarter of 2000.

    Contributing to the decreased third quarter revenues was the company's complete exit of corporate-owned retail stores in the Southeast Region. However, in August, the company completed the acquisition of U Save Foods Inc., a 14-store chain with annual sales of approximately $145 million, operating in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. As a result of this acquisition, Nash Finch became the largest supermarket chain in Nebraska with 31 stores. Following the acquisition, all U Save stores were re-bannered as Sun Mart and were grand opened on October 3, 2001.

    Same-store sales were down 2.3 percent in the third quarter of 2001 and were down .9 percent for the first 40 weeks of 2001. In order to gain future marketing flexibility, Nash Finch reduced promotional activity in certain markets this summer, relative to last summer, which resulted in a significant margin increase.

    Nash Finch's food distribution segment revenues improved in the third quarter of 2001 by 13 percent to $655.9 million, compared to $582.4 million in the third quarter of 2000. Profit in the food distribution segment was $18.6 million in the third quarter of 2001, a 56 percent increase from profit in the third quarter of 2000 of $11.9 million.

    "We continue to see the rewards of the strategic business plan we introduced three years ago," concluded Marshall. "Going forward, we will continue to remain focused on a four-pronged growth strategy. First, the wholesale segment will continue to successfully grow through new account capture. Second, our conventional retail store base will continue to expand through acquisition. Third, the roll-out of our Avanzando retail format will capitalize on the rapidly growing Hispanic market, and finally, through the expansion of our extreme value retailing format, Buy n Save, we will leverage the opportunity to serve the low income segment of the population."

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