Boise-based grocery giant Albertsons reported its earning today – with an increase in gross margin and a slightly better overall performance.
The company said it took in $14 billion in sales and revenue in the fourth quarter – the same amount it saw in the same period last year. But the company shut down 49 stores in the meantime, meaning the remaining group of stores and other business ventures saw a collective increase in sales to offset fewer stores.
The increased profit margin also got a boost by better-than-expected margins from fuel sales. The company now has 397 fuel centers after it decided to reenter that business after acquiring Safeway.
Jim Donald – who is spending his last day as CEO of the company before turning over the reigns to Vivek Sankaran, touted the numbers.
“We are very pleased with the trends in our business as demonstrated by our strong results in the fourth quarter and full year,” Donald said in a prepared release. “This performance in our core four-wall business is helping fund necessary investments into the business in both the four-wall and no-wall environments.”
Albertsons also saw an increase of 52% in its ecommerce sales in the fourth quarter, and a jump of 83% for the full year. The company also said more customers are picking up its store brands, which helped boost overall profitability.
Looking at the bottom line, the company actually had a smaller net profit in the quarter of $135.6 million – versus $388.3 million in the fourth quarter of last year. Why the difference? Mostly, Albertsons saw a $373 million windfall from tax rate changes in 2017 that didn’t repeat this year.