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.