Safeway swings to profit in Q4

Pleasanton, Calif. -- Safeway reported Thursday net income of $229.6 million for the quarter ended Jan. 1, compared with a loss of $1.61 billion in the year-ago period, based on a hefty charge for the reduced value of its assets.

The grocery chain said revenue inched up 1% to $12.8 billion from $12.69 billion, topping Wall Street estimates of $12.45 billion.

Safeway said its quarterly revenue was helped by better fuel sales and an increase in the Canadian exchange rate, but that those factors were offset by lower sales due to store closings and a 0.8% drop in same-store sales, excluding fuel.

For the full year, Safeway reported net income of $589.8 million, compared with a loss of $1.1 billion in the previous year. Annual revenue edged up 1% to $41.05 billion from $40.85 billion.

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