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    Stater Bros. Sales Hit $3.7 Billion in '08, Up 1.8%

    The Calif. grocer saw profits droop by close to $9MM, however, due to the down economy.

    Stater Bros. Holdings said yesterday its sales for the fiscal year ended September 28, 2008 were $3.74 billion, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to sales of $3.67 billion for the previous year.

    The grocer said that the prior fiscal year included an extra week of sales, and excluding that extra week, sales for fiscal 2008 bettered 2007 by 3.8 percent.

    Sales for the fourth quarter were $940.2 million compared to $993.8 million for the year ago period.

    Like store sales for 2008 increased 2.4 percent for the fiscal year and 1.1% for the quarter, the San Bernardino, Calif.-based chain said.

    Net income for the year, however, was down. Earnings for FY '08 came in at $40.6 million, compared to $49.4 million in fiscal year 2007. The results for the fourth quarters of fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2007 were net income of $7.2 million and $10.4 million, respectively.

    Jack H. Brown, chairman, president and c.e.o., blamed the economy. "Our financial results in both the fourth quarter and fiscal year of 2008 were affected by the downturn in the economy and the negative effect the economy has had on the family budgets of our 'Valued Customers,'" Brown said. "We remain committed to controlling costs as we weather the effect of these economic times."

    Stater Bros. Holdings, the largest privately held supermarket chain in Southern California, operates 165 stores through its wholly owned subsidiary, Stater Bros. Markets, which also owns and operates Santee Dairies.

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