SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (AP) ¿ Village Super Market Inc., which runs Shop Rites in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, said Friday that its profit fell 3 in the fiscal fourth quarter due to a litigation charge.

Earnings dipped to $6.7 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $6.9 million, or 52 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company said its quarterly results were hurt by a $708,000 litigation charge.

Sales for the period ended July 25 grew 4 percent to $310.9 million from $298 million on the opening of a store in Marmora, N.J. and a 4.3 percent rise in sales at stores open at least a year, which are known as same-store sales.

Same-store sales are a key indicator of retailer performance since they measure growth at existing stores rather than newly opened ones.

Like other supermarket operators, Village Super Market has benefited from shoppers eating at home more during the recession.

Full-year profit increased 21 percent to $27.3 million, or $2.06 per share, from $22.5 million, or $1.71 per share, in the previous year. Annual sales rose 8 percent to $1.21 billion from $1.12 billion.

Village Super Market runs 26 Shop Rites in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The company's shares fell 9 cents to $29.06 in morning trading.
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