Nash Finch Q2 Profits More Than Double; Sales Dip Slightly

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Nash Finch Q2 Profits More Than Double; Sales Dip Slightly

MINNEAPOLIS -- Boosted by lower expenses and improved gross margins, quarterly net profits for Nash Finch Co. here more than doubled, the company said yesterday. Net earnings for the second quarter ended June 16 were $9.6 million, or 70 cents per share, up from $4.1 million, or 31 cents per share, a year ago.

Nash Finch's quarterly sales dipped slightly to $1.06 billion vs. $1.07 billion a year earlier, below analysts' expectations of $1.07 billion, attributable to a sales decline on the closure of underperforming stores and fewer customers, while the same store second-quarter sales were up 0.3 percent.

During the first 24 weeks of 2007, company sales were down slightly to $2.096 billion compared to $2.106 billion in the prior-year period, while Nash Finch's net earnings for the first 24-week annual measuring period were $15 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, vs. net earnings of $8.0 million, or $0.60 per diluted share, in the prior-year period.

During the second quarter, the company's consolidated EBITDA was $33.3 million, or 3.1 percent of sales, vs. $27.3 million, or 2.6 percent of sales for the prior year quarter. For the first 24 weeks of 2007, its consolidated EBITDA was $58.5 million, or 2.8 percent of sales vs. $51.3 million, or 2.4 percent of sales in the prior year period.

"Our continued focus in 2007 has been on restoring the disciplines in our business which has resulted in improvements to gross margin, retail same store sales, as well as a reduction in SG&A expenses," said Alec Covington, Nash Finch's president/c.e.o.

By better managing inventories and vendor relationships, Covington said, "We have seen nice improvement in our gross margin results while at the same time providing continued improvements in net cost of goods to our customers."

Nash Finch serves independent retailers and military commissaries in 31 states, the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Azores and Egypt, and also owns and operates a base of retail stores, primarily supermarkets under the Econofoods, Family Thrift Center and Sun Mart trade names.