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Smart & Final Profit Soars

Divestiture of its money-losing food service operation helps lift results. Sales rise 12%.

November 02, 2004|Melinda Fulmer | Times Staff Writer

Smart & Final Inc. said Monday that its third-quarter profit soared as the warehouse retailer divested itself of its struggling food service operations.

Los Angeles-based Smart & Final said net income increased to $11.7 million, or 36 cents a share, for the quarter ended Oct. 3, up from $916,000, or 3 cents, a year earlier.

Sales at the 231-store chain increased 12% to $603.2 million from $538.4 million last year.

The profit increase was largely due to the sale of its money-losing food service operations in California and Florida in last year's third quarter.

Excluding those divestitures, the company's operating profit was $12 million in the latest quarter, up 44% from $8.3 million a year earlier.

The chain's comparable-store sales increased 12% in the third quarter.

"We experienced a strong summer and early fall period with increased levels of customer visits and average transaction size," said Etienne Snollaerts, Smart & Final's chief executive.

Smart & Final's earnings were released after the stock market closed. The company's shares declined 17 cents to $14.61 on the New York Stock Exchange. Smart & Final's shares have risen 45% this year.

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