Nash Finch Co. Reports Rise in Earnings

MINNEAPOLIS - Food retailer and distributor Nash Finch Company today reported earnings of $6.7 million, or 55 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 29, 2001, compared to $5.2 million, or 45 cents per diluted share, excluding an extraordinary item, in the prior-year period.

Total revenues for the 2001 fourth quarter increased to $978.1 million, vs. year-ago revenues of $968.1 million. EBITDA (earnings from operations before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and other items) grew to $30.0 million in the 2001 fourth quarter compared to $29.2 million in the prior-year, representing 3.1 and 3.0 percent of sales, respectively.

The extraordinary item in the fourth quarter of 2000 represented an extraordinary charge from early extinguishment of debt.

"I am pleased to report our ninth consecutive quarter of year over year growth in comparable earnings, and record levels of both net profit and EBITDA," said Ron Marshall, president and CEO. "We remain performance driven and focused on continued execution of our strategic plan. These efforts, coupled with the dedication and commitment of all Nash Finch associates nationwide, fuel our continuing momentum."

Fourth-quarter revenues for the food distribution segment totaled $488.0 million vs. $493.5 million in the year-ago period. Food distribution profits for the fourth quarter grew to $16.6 million vs. $14.3 million last year.

Revenues from retail stores rose 7 percent to $253.6 million in the fourth quarter vs. $236.7 million in 2000, while profits increased to $10.4 million, up from $10.1 million in the prior-year period.

Looking to 2002, Marshall said the company's retail strategy is to be a leading chain in the Upper Midwest, not only through conventional grocery retailing but also through expansion of its Avanza and Buy n Save stores.

"We remain confident in a very bright future, despite the intensely competitive market," Marshall added.
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