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Winn-Dixie Shares Fall on Latest Loss; Company to Address Negative Performance 'Swiftly'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Struggling Southeastern grocer Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. yesterday reported a second-quarter loss of $399.7 million, citing fierce competition. The company's stock tumbled more than 30 percent, falling below its 52-week low and closing at $2.25.

For the three months ending Jan. 12, Winn-Dixie lost $399.7 million, or $2.84 per share, compared with a loss of $79.5 million, or 57 cents per share, for the same quarter last year. Included in the net loss was $258 million in restructuring and income tax charges and $72.2 million in expenses related to discontinued operations, the company said in a statement.

Second-quarter revenues were $3.08 billion, compared with $3.23 billion a year ago. Excluding discontinued operations, sales at stores open at least a year fell 4.9 percent from a year earlier.

"This was a tough quarter for the company, with competition continuing to intensify and holiday sales below anticipated levels. The decline we have experienced needs to be addressed swiftly and we intend to do so," said Peter Lynch, the company's new chairman and c.e.o.

For the first six months of this fiscal year, Winn-Dixie reported sales of $5.41 billion on a net loss of $552.8 million or $3.93 per share, compared with sales of $5.65 billion on a net loss of $78.3 million, or 56 cents per share, for the same period in 2004.

"My immediate focus is on quickly and cost-effectively improving sales across the entire chain," said Lynch. "I believe improving the execution of merchandising and sales-focused initiatives, reinvigorating our associates, and restoring a sales-driven culture across the organization can achieve sales growth quickly without significant capital expenditure. We are therefore improving perishables offerings and other product merchandising, as well as implementing store sales competitions and other initiatives to get our associates excited about driving sales. These tactics have proven successful in my previous turnaround experience, and I believe they can work at Winn-Dixie."

Winn-Dixie has closed or sold 135 of 156 stores it planned to leave as part of its restructuring plan, which should be completed by April.

During the quarter the company also closed its distribution center in Louisville, Ky.

In addition, the company announced plans to sell its remaining dairy operations and its Chek Beverage, Deep South Condiments, and Astor Products manufacturing assets.

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. operates more than 900 stores in the Southeastern United States and the Bahamas.
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