Profits down at Safeway

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway posted a drop in quarterly net income amid higher commodity costs.

The company reported net income of $215.6 million (67 cents per diluted share) for the fourth quarter of 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2010, Safeway reported net income of $229.6 million (62 cents per diluted share).

Total sales increased 6.2% to $13.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 from $12.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, helped by higher fuel sales and a 1.5% increase in identical-store sales (excluding fuel).

"Our business continued to grow," said Steve Burd, Chairman, president and CEO. "With ID sales growth remaining steady and costs well-controlled, we increased earnings per share 8%. As we move into 2012, our personalized marketing efforts and innovation in private label brands should contribute to our growth."

Net income for the fiscal year 2011 declined to $516.7 million ($1.49 per diluted share) from net income for 2010 of $589.8 million ($1.55 per diluted share).