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BOISE-The country’s second-largest food and drug retailer has reported a loss of $151 million in the second quarter, due largely to restructuring charges prompted by the purchase of American Stores in 1999.

Company officials, however, are quick to stress that prior to the $558 million restructuring charge, sales actually surpassed analyst projections as well as forecasts from within Albertson’s.

For the 13-week period ended Aug. 2, total sales totaled almost $9.6 billion, a 3.9% jump from a year earlier. Comparable store sales, including replacements increased 1.9% and identical store sales increased 1.5%.

“We are very encouraged by these results and remain committed to taking the steps necessary to unleash the full shareholder value that is inherent in this great company,” Larry Johnston, Chairman and CEO said in a news release. “The results we are reporting today prove that the plans we have implemented are beginning to give us traction to continue moving the company in the right direction.”

Albertson’s announced earlier this summer that it would lay off workers, close stores and consolidate operations in an effort to cut costs and make the food and drug retailer a more efficient company.

Over the next year, Albertson’s intends to accelerate the disposal of surplus property and close about 165 under performing and surplus stores throughout 25 states, including Washington.

The cuts are aimed at reducing operating costs as the nation’s second-largest food and drug retailer continues to struggle with its 1999 acquisition of American Stores.

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