Homeland Grocery chain reports $46 million loss


Sunday, April 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The closings of nearly 30 underperforming stores contributed greatly to a $46.4 million loss suffered by Homeland Holding Corp. this fiscal year, company officials say.

It was the third consecutive unprofitable year for the Oklahoma City-based grocery store chain. But the company stressed Friday that $41 million resulted from one-time, noncash write-downs that will not be repeated.

``On an apples-to-apples basis, we calculated an operating profit of $2.6 million _ which is still a decline, but not a $46 million decline,'' said Chief Executive David Clark.

Homeland reported an operating profit of $8.2 million, but a bottom-line net loss of $5.89 million, in 2000. Last year, grocery sales dropped 15 percent to $551 million after Homeland reduced its store count from 85 to 54. The company also suffered a 7.8 percent drop in same-store sales at its remaining locations.

Clark blamed the decline on continued competition and an inability to aggressively market its own stores under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Once Homeland emerges from reorganization, it will be better positioned to compete, he said.

``Now that we're down to the right group of stores, we're busy making plans for a successful emergence that will include reinvestment in those new stores and a more aggressive approach to the market,'' Clark said.

The company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. Homeland operates 44 stores, most of them in rural Oklahoma, and employs about 2,400 people.