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Tax benefit boosts Winn-Dixie's 3Q earnings
May 17th, 2011
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Income from continuing operations jumped 11.9% to $23.5 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, at Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. during the third quarter of fiscal 2011.
The Southeast supermarket chain said late Monday that excluding a deferred tax benefit of $9.7 million, or 17 cents per share, adjusted profits would have fallen 33.9% to $13.8 million, or 25 cents per share. That figure was well ahead of the 10 cents per share consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Net sales for the 12-week quarter ended April were flat at $1.62 billion, although identical-store sales declined 0.5%. Winn-Dixie attributed the decrease to a 1.7% drop in customer traffic, which was partially offset by a 1.3% increase in the average transaction.
According to management, identical-store sales were negatively affected by competitive activity and "other market factors" that were partially countered by inflationary price increases and higher sales in remodeled stores, as well as favorable results for the chain’s fuelperks! Rewards initiative.
Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in the third quarter came in at $55.2 million, an increase of $4.1 million versus the prior-year period.
"Overall, we are pleased with our third quarter results. We strategically managed our promotional activity and merchandising efforts in this inflationary environment to drive improvements in both adjusted EBITDA and gross margin, while still offering good value to our guests. Based on year-to-date performance and positive fourth quarter-to-date identical store sales, we remain on track to achieve our financial guidance for the fiscal year," Winn-Dixie chairman and chief executive officer Peter Lynch said in a statement.
Lynch added that Winn-Dixie is making progress with several strategic initiatives designed to spur sales and profits over the long term. "Our computer-generated ordering system, fuelperks! Rewards program and operational focus continue to improve our overall guest experience," he stated. "Additionally, our transformational format stores continue to generate strong sales, reinforcing our confidence in the long-term financial and brand-building benefits of this program."