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Post-strike, Stater Bros.' 2005 Results Down

COLTON, Calif. -- Noting that its prior fiscal year's sales and earnings were materially boosted by the strike/lockout in Southern California, Stater Bros. Holdings, Inc. here reported sales of $3.4 billion for the 52-week fiscal year ended Sep. 25, a decrease of 9.0 percent, vs. $3.7 billion for the year-ago period.

Sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005, ended Sept. 25, were $849.9 million, a rise of 1.1 percent compared with $840.9 million for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2004. Like-store sales for the year declined 12.1 percent compared to fiscal 2004. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005, like stores-sales went down 1.0 percent compared with the prior-year period.

Since it said that a comparison of like-store sales between fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2004 was difficult because of the effect of the labor dispute, the company instead compared like-store sales in fiscal 2005 with those in fiscal 2003, the fiscal year before the labor dispute. The comparison revealed that same-store sales grew 15.2 percent, or an average annual like-store sales growth of 7.6 percent, over the two-year period.

Stater Bros. posted net income of $26.2 million for the fiscal year 2005, as opposed to $71.4 million in fiscal year 2004. The results for the fourth quarters of fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2004 showed net income of $12.1 million and $12.6 million, respectively. The company stressed that the effect of the strike/lockout on its sales and earnings "was unprecedented and is not expected to be repeated in the future."

Said Stater Bros. Holdings chairman, president, and c.e.o. Jack Brown in a statement: "We are pleased with the results but will continue to focus on customer service and bring value to our customers, the core of the Stater Bros. concept."

Stater Bros. Holdings, the largest privately held supermarket chain in Southern California, operates 162 supermarkets through its wholly owned subsidiary, Stater Bros. Markets.

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