October 26, 2009 / 10:32 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-Winn-Dixie quarterly loss widens; shares fall

* Q1 loss/shr $0.15 vs loss/shr $0.04 year ago

* Q1 sales fall 2 percent

* Cuts FY 2010 EBITDA view to $140 mln-$160 mln

* Shares down 13 pct after the bell

(Recasts, adds details, updates share movement)

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Winn-Dixie Stores Inc WINN.O posted a wider quarterly loss and gave a weak 2010 outlook as recession-hit consumers shopped for lesser number of items on every visit to its stores, sending the supermarket chain’s shares down 13 percent.

Same store sales — a key measure of retail health — decreased 1.5 percentage for the first quarter compared with the year-ago period.

The company also said sales were hurt as consumers shifted towards generic pharmaceuticals and an absence of storm-related sales that it saw last year.

Adjusting for storm-related sales and the shift from branded pharmaceuticals to cheaper generics, same store sales were flat, the company said in a statement.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) recently put considerable pressure on grocery stores and discount retailers, when it announced its plans to cut prices each week during this holiday season.

Last week, Winn-Dixie’s larger rival Supervalu Inc SVU.N slashed its quarterly dividend and gave a weak full-year profit forecast, hit by a fierce price war among food sellers. [nN20399293].

Winn-Dixie cut its full-year 2010 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) outlook to between $140 million and $160 million.

For the latest first quarter, the company posted a loss of $8.1 million, or 15 cents a share, compared with a loss of $2.3 million, or 4 cents a share, a year ago.

Total sales fell 2 percent to $1.64 billion.

“The economic climate continued to impede our growth during the quarter and caused our adjusted EBITDA to fall below last year’s levels,” Chief Executive Peter Lynch said in a statement.

However, he added that transaction count was flat in the current quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 included an estimated benefit of $2.7 million due to storm-related sales net of storm-related inventory losses and other costs, the company said.

Shares of the company were down 13 percent in trading after the bell. They had closed at $13.33 Monday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Vidya Lakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Unnikrishnan Nair, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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