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INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis-based grocer and convenience store owner Marsh Supermarkets Inc. reported its net loss in the fourth quarter increased by 17 percent. The company's loss rose from $1.2 million, or 15 cents per share, to $1.4 million, or 18 cents per share, for the quarter ending April 2.
Marsh attributed some of its loss to a series of expenses, including a $2.4 million settlement to resolve a petroleum contamination suit and a $900,000 settlement with a former employee. The company said it also paid $800,000 to rectify accounting procedures for leases.
Revenue for the fourth quarter grew 11.3 percent to $419.1 million, compared with $376.3 million in the same period a year ago. The company reported 3.1 percent gain in comparable-store sales at supermarkets and convenience stores from last year. Excluding gasoline sales, comparable sales showed a 1.8 percent increase for the quarter.
The company closed one Village Pantry location during the quarter.
For the year ending April 2, comparable-store sales, excluding gasoline, declined 0.8 percent from last year. The company attributed the decline to a weak local economy and competitive new supermarket square footage.
Earnings for the year were $4.2 million, or 52 cents per share, compared with $3 million, or 38 cents per share, last year.
"We are pleased that, while 20 competitors' supermarkets have been built or remodeled during the past two years, fourth quarter comparable store customer count was equal to the year earlier quarter. We will continue to distinguish ourselves from our competitors by delivering superior products and service, and by guaranteeing customer satisfaction," said Don E. Marsh, chairman and chief executive officer.
"The results were as expected," Bryan Higgins, senior securities analyst for 40/86 Advisors Inc., told the Indianapolis Star. "I don't think anyone was expecting to see stellar numbers, given the competition they have."
Marsh operates 162 Village Pantry convenience stores, 69 Marsh Supermarkets, 37 LoBill Foods, 8 O'Malia's Food Markets, 1 Arthur's Fresh Market and 1 Savin*$ store, all in Indiana and Ohio.