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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Locally based Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. posted a net loss for its first fiscal quarter, while sales also fell slightly. The regional supermarket chain lowered its earnings forecast for the entire year because of the weak US economy.

“We were challenged by the economy,” Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie president and CEO, told the Florida Times-Union. “It’s a little bit of a setback but it’s consistent with what’s going on in America.”

Winn-Dixie reported a net loss of $8.1 million, or 15 cents per diluted share, for the three months ended Sept. 16. The loss included an impairment charge of $3.5 million related to store closings.

Total sales for the quarter fell 2% to $1.6 billion, partly due to six store closings in fiscal 2009. Identical store sales fell 1.5% because of an absence of storm-related sales this year, as well as a shift to generic pharmaceutical sales.

Click here for the full story by the Times-Union.

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