Stater Bros. continues to see positive results from its low price strategy it began three years ago, increasing sales and traffic for the most recent fiscal year ending Sept. 29.
"We are pleased with our increase in sales in fiscal 2013,” said Jack Brown, chairman, president and CEO of Stater Bros. “We've increased sales and customer counts as our customers have responded favorably to our marketing strategy of keeping our prices low during these continued challenging economic times. During the prolonged economic downturn, we have intentionally sacrificed some gross margin which has affected our current year earnings. Over the past three years, we have reduced our debt by approximately $176.5 million and by December 31, 2013, we will make an additional $13.9 million reduction in our term loan. This has allowed us to lower our interest costs and invest more in our customers. During these times, low prices and value are even more important as our customers continue to face challenges to their home budgets."
Stater Bros. fiscal fourth quarter 2013 sales were $960.4 million, an increase of $3.2 million or 0.33 percent compared to the 13-week 2012 fourth quarter sales. Fiscal 2013 sales were $3.9 billion, an increase of $54.4 million or 1.43 percent over 52-week fiscal 2012 sales. Like store sales increased 0.58 percent in the fourth quarter and 1.53 percent in fiscal 2013 over the same periods of the prior year.
The comparison of sales and earnings for fiscal 2013 and 2012 is affected by fiscal 2012 having an extra week of sales for both the fourth quarter and the fiscal year, according to the company. The extra week in the prior year added approximately $67.8 million to the year's fourth quarter and fiscal year.
Net income was $3.4 million for the fourth quarter, down from $5 million in the fourth quarter last year. Net income for the year was $30.4 million, down from last year’s $37.7 million.
San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. operates 167 Supermarkets in Southern California.