Winn-Dixie Edges Wall Street Profit View

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Winn-Dixie Stores ( WINN) topped Wall Street's profit expectations for its fiscal fourth-quarter results as same-store sales rose 3.2%.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based supermarket operator reported earnings of $7.3 million, or 13 cents a share, for the three months ended June 29. On a continuing operations basis, the company earned $5.6 million, or 10 cents a share, in the latest quarter. Net sales fell 3.8% in the June-ended period to $1.62 billion.

The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of 9 cents a share in the quarter on sales of $1.61 billion.

"We were able to improve our financial performance in the second half of the year due to the talent and hard work of all of our team members," said Peter Lynch, the company's chairman, CEO and president. "We enter fiscal 2012 as a stronger company and look forward to building on the momentum we have established this year as we continue to grow sales through initiatives and customer loyalty programs such as our fuelperks! Rewards program and transformational remodels."

Winn-Dixie attributed its same-store increase to the ability to pass inflationary price increases along to its customers in select product categories, higher sales in remodeled stores, and favorable results from its online ordering operations.

The stock finished Monday's regular session at $7.60, up almost 15%. Year-to-date, the shares have appreciated 6%. Wall Street was split ahead of the report with the breakdown of analyst coverage of the stock 3 hold ratings, 2 strong buys and 1 buy with a median 12-month price target of $10.50.

For fiscal 2012, the company forecast adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $120 million to $135 million with same-store sales seen rising 2.5% to 3.5%.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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