Foodland cash registers ringing

FOODLAND Associated has painted a rosy picture for its operations in the second half of the 1996 fiscal year after announcing a strong increase in sales over the last quarter. Sales for the second quarter of 1995-96 increased by a healthy 7.8 per cent, with sales for the year to date up by 6.1 per cent. The independent grocery chain said the figures showed it was making solid progress in delivering a quality alternative to the larger retail outlets by adopting a discounting market strategy. In the company’s home state of Western Australia, wholesale sales increased by 7 per cent for the quarter and 5.4 per cent for the year to date. The company’s general manager of finance, Chris Bennett, said he was “reasonably happy” with the WA operations of Foodland. The company expected to announce its interim profit for the 1995-96 financial year in the first week of April. Foodland’s New Zealand subsidiaries, Farmers Deka and Progressive Enterprises, while not providing the same growth as seen in WA, continued to hold their own in an increasingly competitive market. Farmers Deka recovered strongly from losses suffered during the first quarter of 1995-96, with sales only 2.8 per cent down on the same period last year. This was achieved despite the closure of 13 stores, including five toy warehouse outlets. Progressive Enterprises, while suffering a slight downturn in its fast food operations, registered an increased market share from its full service and discount grocery retail formats. But Progressive said yesterday that its first half was unlikely to exceed $NZ5 million, compared with $NZ10.5 million a year ago, although the second half would be stronger than the previous corresponding period.

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