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Food 4 Less Posts Loss of $1.1 Million

October 02, 1993|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LA HABRA — Food 4 Less Supermarkets Inc., owner of the Alpha Beta and Viva grocery chains, said Friday it lost $1.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 1994, compared to an $8.7-million loss in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 18 was $616.6 million, down 5.7% from $653.6 million in the 1993 first quarter.

Despite the loss, company officials said the supermarket chain's operating cash flow--income before certain fixed expenses, such as interest and depreciation--rose nearly 40% to $27.6 million.

Operating cash-flow margins are a key indicator of a market chain's efficiency. Food 4 Less said its first-quarter figure equaled 4.5% of sales--up from just 3% of sales a year earlier. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of margin improvement for the chain.

George Golleher, president and chief operating officer, said spending cuts by recession-ravaged Southern California's cost-conscious consumers have depressed the chain's earnings.

Food 4 Less operates 248 stores under the Alpha Beta, Food 4 Less, Boys, Viva, Cala, Bell and Falley's names in California and the Midwest.

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