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    Stater Bros. Sets Q3 Sales Record, But Income Drops

    The chain also said like-store sales were up 2.9 percent for the year to date.

    Stater Bros. Holdings Inc. said is sales for the 13-week quarter ended June 29, 2008, increased 2.5 percent to a record of $932.7 million, compared to $910.2 million for the year ago period.

    The Easter Holiday fell in the chain's second quarter in fiscal 2008, but in the third quarter of fiscal 2007. Taking into consideration the timing effect of the Easter Holiday, like-store sales increased 1.8 percent for the period, the chain said.

    Total sales for the 39 weeks ended June 29 increased $120.4 million or 4.5 percent, totaling $2.80 billion compared to $2.68 billion for the same period in fiscal 2007.

    Year-to-date like store sales increased 2.9 percent compared to the same period in fiscal 2007.

    However, the grocer reported net income of $9.2 million for the 13-week third quarter, vs. $15.6 million for the thirteen week third quarter of fiscal 2007. New income for the fiscal year-to-date periods amounted to $33.5 million in 2008 compared, to $39.0 million in 2007.

    Jack H. Brown, chairman, president and c.e.o., said the results for the quarter and year to date were hurt by the downturn in the economy, and the negative effects that has had on the budgets of the chain's "valued customers."

    "We held the line on some price increases to assist our customers in coping with outrageous fuel costs and general price increases in all the family needs, which negatively affected our earnings," Brown said.

    "However, our plan was to hold our customer counts and that was accomplished, with an increase of 324,000 customers during the last 10 weeks," he added. "This means that when our customers have more to spend we'll get our share, and unlike some retailers, we won't have to go looking for our customers. A lost customer is very hard to locate and win back."

    Meanwhile, the chain will stay focused on controlling expenses "while we continue to provide our customers with the quality and value that they expect and deserve," Brown said.

    By the end of the fiscal year, Stater Bros. should also have completed construction of a new refrigerated distribution facility, the final phase of its distribution consolidation.

    Stater Bros. Holdings Inc. is the largest privately held supermarket chain in Southern California, operating 165 supermarkets through its wholly owned subsidiary, Stater Bros. Markets.

    Stater Bros. Markets also owns and operates Santee Dairies, manufacturer of quality "Heartland Farms" dairy products.

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