Earnings let Safeway shed $1.1 billion in debt

Safeway Inc reported net income of $202.7 million for the 16-week fourth quarter ended Jan 1, 2005. In the 17-week fourth quarter of 2003, the Pleasanton CA-based supermarket chain reported a net loss of $695.9 million. Total sales rose to $11.4 billion in the 16-week fourth quarter of 2004 compared with $11.0 billion in the 17-week quarter of 2003.

Net income for the year ended 2004 was $560.2 million, versus a loss of $169.8 million for 2003. Sales climbed slightly to $35.8 billion in 2004 from $35.7 billion in 2003.

“Our 2004 earnings were largely as expected, and we are very pleased that the cash generated by the business significantly exceeded expectations, allowing us to reduce debt by $1.1 billion,” said Steve Burd, chairman, president, and chief executive officer.

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