Tops Markets’ Q3 Loss Widens as Sales Slow

Tops Markets posted a third-quarter loss of $5.2 million, from just $1.4 million in the year-ago period, according to a published report.

The grocer’s overall sales declined 4 percent to $561 million, from last year’s $581 million, which Tops attributed mainly to a precipitous drop in gas prices that slashed revenues from fuel stations at its stores by 30 percent, The Buffalo News noted. Meanwhile, store sales dipped less than 1 percent, and sales at stores open for more than a year were flat.

The company said that flat store sales were a result of the closure last January of 27 in-store pharmacies, which eliminated more than $8 million in revenue and offset revenues from the four new supermarkets that Tops has either acquired or opened since September 2014.

Additionally, the grocer's operating expenses rose by 2 percent, as a result of the 75-cent-per-hour minimum wage increase that took effect at the start of the year and the $1.3 million in forthcoming bonus payments to salaried employees under a general bonus plan.

According to Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops, which refinanced most of its $671 million debt earlier in 2015, its fairly stable cash flow will enable it to keep investing in store revamps and acquisitions, with a particular focus on smaller stores near the chain's core markets across upstate New York.

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