Originally created 08/20/04

Winn-Dixie reports narrower-than-expected loss



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Supermarket giant Winn-Dixie Stores Inc swung to a loss in the fourth quarter from a profit a year ago as it incurred costs from closing stores and facilities.

The results, announced Thursday, were better than expected, sending shares up more than 3 percent in morning trading.

Winn-Dixie, which has been struggling to stay competitive with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other food rivals, reported a loss of $22.72 million, or 16 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30. That compares with a profit of $62.5 million, or 44 cents per share in the year-ago period.

The results included $7.3 million of restructuring and asset impairment charges related to the company's strategic initiatives and $55.5 million of other asset impairment charges. That resulted in a per share reduction of 5 cents.

Excluding the charges, the company earned $2.1 million, or a penny per share in the quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected a loss of five cents.

For the year, Winn-Dixie lost $100.4 million, or 71 cents per share, compared with a profit of $239.2 million, or $1.70 per share a year ago.

Sales reached $10.6 billion, up from $11.03 billion a year ago.

The loss came after Winn-Dixie announced plans to jettison 156 stores and eliminate 10,000 jobs over the next year.

Earlier this year, the company said it planned to close 45 unprofitable or poorly located stores and put 111 stores up for sale and close them if they could not find buyer.

The Jacksonville-based supermarket chain has about 920 stores and some 90,000 employees.