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Stater Bros. Posts First-quarter Sales Drop

COLTON, Calif. -- Stater Bros. Holdings, Inc.'s financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 show a steep decline in sales, which the company attributes to many shoppers having returned to their old supermarkets after the Southern California strike/lockout at Safeway, Albertsons, and Kroger stores ended last year.

Sales for the 13-week first quarter ended Dec. 26 plunged 18.3 percent to $839.1 million, vs. $1.027 billion for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 28, 2003. Like-store sales plummeted 22.2 percent for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 26, compared with the previous year.

The company reported net income for the 13-week first quarter ended Dec. 26 of $3.4 million, as opposed to net income of $34.6 million for the 13-week first quarter last year.

Stater Bros. chairman, president, and c.e.o. Jack Brown said in a statement: "The decline in sales in the current year is due to the high sales level in the prior year during the Southern California grocery labor dispute. While the sales have declined, we are pleased with the amount of new customers we have been able to retain. This year's results reflect our Stater Bros. Family post-strike retention efforts to retain many of our new 'Valued Customers' [by] providing excellent service and value. We are determined to maintain the existing level of new customers the Stater Bros. Family obtained during the labor dispute. We remain committed to providing a friendly and satisfying shopping experience to all our 'Valued Customers' on every one of their visits to our stores."

Stater Bros. Holdings, Inc. is the largest privately held supermarket chain in Southern California, operating 160 supermarkets through its wholly owned subsidiary, Stater Bros. Markets.
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