Safeway's Second-quarter Profit Declines by 4 Percent

PLEASANTON, Calif. - Safeway Inc.'s second-quarter profit dipped 4 percent following a Southern California strike that alienated many customers and employees, an AP report said.

The chain announced Tuesday it earned $155.2 million, or 35 cents per share, in the three months ended June 19, down from $161 million, or 36 cents per share, at the same time last year.
Sales for the period totaled $8.36 billion, a 1 percent improvement from $8.25 billion last year.

The earnings per share fell two cents below the mean estimate among analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. That seemed to disappoint investors, as Safeway's shares fell 67 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $21.20 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Although a nearly five-month-long strike in Southern California was settled shortly before the second quarter began, the aftershocks of the dispute are still shaking Safeway, the report said. Many customers driven away by the strike have continued to shop elsewhere.

Since the strike began last October, Safeway has traced $275 million in losses to the dispute -- one of the longest and most expensive in supermarket history.
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