Winn-Dixie Loss Widens on First Quarter

Jacksonville, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. announced Monday that its first-quarter losses widened due to increased operating costs, including spending on store remodels. Same-store sales, however, rose 3%.

The grocer reported a net loss of $2.3 million for the quarter, compared with a net loss of nearly $800,000 in the same quarter last year.

Winn-Dixie's total sales for the quarter grew 3.4% to $1.7 billion, an increase of $55 million. The company said pre-storm purchases during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and Tropical Storm Fay helped boost the company's bottom line and well outweighed storm-related inventory losses and other related costs.

"We are very pleased with our financial results for the quarter," Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie's president and CEO, said.

Operating costs increased by $19.55 million, to $468.1 million for the quarter, because of costs for payroll, utilities, remodeling and other costs, according to Lynch.

The company plans to remodel roughly half the chain by the end of fiscal 2010 and substantially all of its stores by the end of fiscal 2013. As of the end of the first quarter, the company had completed 96 store remodels.

In other news, Winn-Dixie announced the addition of Mary Kellmanson to its marketing department. Kellmanson has been named VP of marketing and will oversee the day-to-day and strategic operations of Winn-Dixie’s marketing, advertising and communications efforts.

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