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Winn-Dixie reports Q1 sales growth

BY DSN STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores this week reported first-quarter 2008 net sales of $1.6 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent over the first quarter 2007. The company reported identical-store sales increased 0.2 percent, compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

The company reported that gross profit on sales in the first quarter was $446.4 million, an increase of $21.9 million compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2007. As a percentage of sales, gross margin was 27.5 percent in the first quarter compared to 26.4 percent in the same period of fiscal 2007, an increase of 110 basis points. According to the company, the improvement in gross margin was due primarily to a planned reduction in promotional spending in the first quarter of the current fiscal year and to a lesser extent operational improvements that reduced costs at its distribution facilities.

The company reported adjusted EBITDA of $19.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008, compared to a loss of $11.1 million in the same period of fiscal 2007. The company incurred a net loss for the quarter of $0.8 million compared with a net loss of $24.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2007, an improvement of $23.8 million.

“We are very pleased with our financial progress this quarter, especially improvements in adjusted EBITDA and gross margin, which reflects the operational changes we are making while we continue to execute our long-term turnaround plan,” Winn-Dixie chairman, chief executive officer and president, Peter Lynch said. “In addition to the store remodels, we are working to improve our competitive position by enhancing the conditions at all our stores, refining our merchandising and promotional activity, managing costs, training our dedicated associates and improving customer service.”

For the fiscal 2008 year, Winn-Dixie expects adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $90 million to $115 million. Identical-store sales are expected to be slightly positive. Gross margin in fiscal 2008 is expected to be slightly higher than in fiscal 2007.

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Jones to helm Publix starting 2008

BY Drew Buono

DELAND, Fla. Todd Jones will become president of Publix Super Markets beginning next March, according to news-journalonline.com

Jones has been with the company in a variety of positions since 1980. He has gone from front-service clerk to vice president of the Jacksonville district in 2003, to his current position of senior vice president-product business development, which he got two years ago.

Jones credited his rise to the top to the company and his coworkers through the years. “My successes are certainly based on the opportunities my company has provided for me and the great team of friends and colleagues I’ve worked with along the way,” he wrote. “All associates willing to remain focused and reach for their full potential will obtain a rich and fulfilling career… . Our company’s successes are built on our most precious asset, our associates.”

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The Dialogue Co. to introduce the HealthSTART program

BY Antoinette Alexander

PENNINGTON, N.J. The Dialogue Co. is introducing in November the first nationally distributed co-op sampling program for retail-based clinics.

“The program has been very well received and will be distributed by more than 350 clinics and pharmacies located in food, drug and mass merchandiser outlets across the country, including 44 Wal-Mart Supercenters,” stated Glen Greissinger, president of The Dialogue Company.

The HealthSTART Wellness Pack is a wellness focused patient starter kit program targeting consumers within new emerging health care channels, including retail clinics. The kits will contain health focused product samples, coupons and advertiser-supported health education information along with clinic-specific promotional material. There are currently more than 700 clinics within the convenient care industry.

“Our overall goal is to provide patients with easy access to high quality, affordable health care and the HealthSTART program provides a vehicle for us to provide added value for our customers, to promote CheckUps treatment and wellness services, and to build patient relationships,” stated Joe Huver, business development manager for CheckUps. CheckUps, a retail medical clinic company, currently operates clinics in more than 20 Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Founded in 1991, The Dialogue Company is a marketing services and media company specializing in the development of cooperative sampling programs to help marketers reach health-conscious consumers. It has developed point-of-care marketing solutions since 1993.

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