PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway surprised analysts Thursday morning with fourth-quarter earnings per share of 62 cents, well above a consensus of 57 cents among analysts.
Total sales were up 0.9% to $12.8 billion in the fourth quarter. Higher fuel sales and an increase in the Canadian exchange rate were offset by reduced sales due to store closures and a 0.8% decline in identical-store sales, excluding fuel, the grocer reported. Same-store sales, excluding fuel, declined 0.5%. Fuel sales rose 23%.