Economic downturn takes hold of Stater Bros.' Q3 earnings

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. A regional supermarket chain experienced declines across the board during its third quarter ended June 27.

Consolidated sales for Stater Bros. dropped $28.6 million to $900 million in the third quarter after selling its Santee Dairies assets in the first quarter, the company said. Supermarket sales for the quarter also dropped $5.6 million, or 0.61%, compared with the same period of fiscal 2009. Additionally, same-store sales decreased 1.19%, or $10.8 million for the thirteen weeks ended June 27, compared with the third quarter 2009. Stater Bros. said its overall net income for the third quarter totaled $6 million compared, with $15.1 million in the year-ago period.

Jack Brown, Stater Bros. chairman, president and CEO, said the economic downturn impacted its customers' budgets but said its customer loyalty has made it a successful business.

"A cornerstone of our business strategy is to retain their loyalty by providing them the best value possible which includes not only being competitive on price, but also providing our customers with unparalleled customer service. We are sacrificing gross profit in the short term in order to retain our customers in the long term," Brown said. "We remain focused on controlling our operating cost while providing our customers with the hometown service they have come to expect and the low prices they need on each visit to their Stater Bros. supermarket."

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