Fresh Brands Turns in Flat Third Quarter

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Fresh Brands, Inc., a wholesaler and retailer based here, today reported that net earnings for its third quarter ended Oct. 5 were $1.44 million, compared to restated but unaudited net earnings of $1.49 million for the year earlier period. Net sales for the quarter were $141.9 million, a small dropoff from last year's $144 million.

The company, which both franchises and operates 100 Piggly Wiggly and Dick's supermarkets in Wisconsin and Illinois, showed a decline of 1 percent in same-store sales, results the company said was affected by returns from the opening of its new prototype store during last year's third quarter.

"Despite the decrease in sales, we were able to improve our gross margin slightly through successful management of promotional programs," noted Fresh Brands president and c.e.o. Elwood F. Winn. "Due to the continuing competitive activity and the impact of the sluggish economy, however, the company anticipates sales to be flat to modestly down in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Winn indicated that due to the success of the company's popular "circular" prototype design, elements of the design are being incorporated in most of the replacement stores presently under construction or in the planning stages. Two corporate stores slated for opening in 2003 will be designated Piggly Wiggly Fresh Market Circle stores.
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