Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 totaled $1.6 billion, an increase of $48.2 million or 3.1 percent compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year. Identical store sales increased 3.3 percent compared to the same period in the prior year driven by a 5.5 percent increase in basket size partially offset by a 2.1 percent decrease in transaction count.
For continuing operations, the company reported a net loss of $24.6 million, or $0.44 per diluted share for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, an improvement from a net loss of $36.5 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, for the same period in the prior fiscal year. Adjusted EBITDA was $7.4 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, an improvement from the negative $6.8 million for the same period in the prior fiscal year, or an increase of $14.2 million.
“I am very pleased with our first quarter financial performance,” said Peter Lynch, chairman, CEO and president. “We generated substantial sales and Adjusted EBITDA growth over the prior year, driven by continued positive sales growth from the previous quarter and expanded margins despite an inflationary environment.
“Through the first five weeks of the second quarter, we continue to experience identical store sales growth that has exceeded our first quarter performance, in line with our expectations,” he added.
Gross profit on sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 totaled $437.1 million, an increase of $13.8 million compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year. As a percentage of net sales, gross margin was 27.5 percent for the first quarter, an increase of 10 basis points compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year. The increase in gross margin was attributable to improvements in other costs, including warehouse costs and inventory shrink, which were partially offset by a higher LIFO charge in fiscal 2012 as compared to fiscal 2011.
As of Sept. 21, Winn-Dixie had $551.5 million of liquidity, comprised of $383.0 million of borrowing availability under its credit agreement and approximately $168.5 million of cash and cash equivalents. The company noted that its liquidity is sufficient to continue funding its capital program through fiscal 2012, and it does not expect any borrowings under its credit facility during the fiscal year.
Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. is one of the nation’s largest food retailers. The company operates 483 retail grocery locations with 75 liquor stores and four fuel centers at the retail stores and 379 in-store pharmacies in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.