Winn-Dixie 1st-qtr loss narrows as sales rise

October 31, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Grocery chain Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. on Monday said its fiscal first-quarter loss narrowed by one-third, as its gas-related rewards program and retail inflation helped boost sales 3 percent.

For the three months ended Sept. 21, the company posted a net loss of $24.1 million, or 43 cents per share, compared with a loss of $76.8 million, or $1.39 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

In this year's quarter, the company reported net income from discontinued operations of $500,000, or a penny per share, compared with net loss from discontinued operations of $40.3 million, or 73 cents a share, in the 2010 quarter.

Revenue rose to $1.59 billion, from $1.54 billion last year

Analysts, on average, were expecting a loss of 42 cents per share, on revenue of $1.6 billion, according to data provided by FactSet.

Winn-Dixie said revenue at stores open at least a year, an important measure of retail health, rose 3.3 percent during the quarter. That reflected a 5.5 percent increase in sales per customer, but was offset by a 2.1 percent dip in the number of transactions.

Chairman and CEO Peter Lynch said the first five weeks of the current quarter show sales growth at stores open at least a year improving even further.

Winn-Dixie shares jumped 53 cents, or 8 percent, to $6.87 in extended trading following the release of the earnings report. They had closed Monday down 24 cents, or 3.6 percent, at $6.34.