Spartan Stores Posts Wider Loss as Sales Decline

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Spartan Stores Inc. on Tuesday reported a wider fiscal fourth-quarter loss, as it struggles to boost sales and cut expenses.

The grocer, which operates stores such as Ashcraft's Markets and Glen's Markets mainly in Michigan and Ohio, said its net loss for the quarter ended March 29 totaled $20.9 million, or $1.05 a share, versus a net loss of $5.0 million, or 25 cents a share, last year.

Quarterly retail sales fell 6.6 percent to $188.7 million from $202.0 million a year earlier. The company attributed the drop to competition, an Easter holiday calendar shift and the closure of its money-losing Food Town stores.

Looking ahead, Spartan, which is also a grocery distributor, forecast fiscal first-quarter retail sales at stores open at least a year to increase by 0.7 percent. The company also said it will save $8 million annually, starting in the second quarter, from a recent move to cut 11 percent of its corporate staff.
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