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  • Albertsons, the No. 2 U.S. grocer, reported that net earnings for fiscal year 2002 increased 15.6 percent to $579 million before the effect of an accounting change, versus $501 million on the same basis in the prior year. Reported net earnings, including the accounting change and one-time items, totaled $485 million for the year, three percent lower than the $501 million in the year earlier on the same basis.

    Sales for the year totaled $35.6 billion, 2.7 percent lower than the prior year.

    Reported net income in the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 30 was $205 million, down from $290 million in the same period of the prior year.

    Quarterly sales decreased to $9.1 billion from $9.3 billion, while same store sales were off 1.2 percent.

    Albertsons’ gross profit margin fell during the quarter to 28.56 percent from 28.88 percent, which CEO Larry Johnston said was because of aggressive promotions and price cutting aimed at boosting sales.

    Johnson expressed optimism to Reuters, saying, “Our average baskets were up from $24.50 in the fourth quarter of last year to $24.93 in the fourth quarter of this year.”

  • Family Dollar Stores reported net income of $72.7 million for the quarter ended March 1, up from $63.8 million a year earlier. Sales rose 14 percent to $1.26 billion from $1.11 billion. Same-store sales rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier.

  • General Mills Inc. reported that quarterly net income nearly tripled on lower costs and strong growth in core brands and line extensions.

    Net sales rose 11 percent to $2.65 billion, while net sales from US operations were up 14 percent to $1.91 billion. Operating profit nearly doubled to $449 million.

    Net income rose to $240 million, from $82 million a year earlier.

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