SCARBOROUGH — The Hannaford Bros. Co. supermarket chain reported a 93.5 percent reduction in quarterly earnings Thursday and said a one-time accounting charge of almost $40 million was responsible for the drop.
The company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.4 million, as compared to $21.1 million for the same quarter of 1996.
Without the accounting charge, earnings for the last quarter of 1997 would have increased 23.8 percent over the results for the last quarter of 1996, to $26.2 million.
Annual earnings for 1997 were $59.6 million, down 20.7 percent from 1996’s $75.2 million. Before the accounting charge, annual earnings were $84.4 million, an increase of 12.3 percent.
Sales and other revenues were $3.2 billion for 1997, in increase of 9.1 percent over 1996 revenues. Fourth-quarter sales and revenues were $870.7 million, a 13.9 percent increase.
Consolidated net earnings per common share were $0.03, compared to $0.50 in 1996.
Hugh G. Farrington, president and chief executive officer of the supermarket company, said results were “very encouraging.”
“Inflation in 1997 was minimal, competition remains healthy and challenging, and we are continuing to test home shopping,” he said.
The $39.95 million, non-cash accounting charge was related to reducing the value of assets in the southeast and to Hannaford’s plan to close seven southeastern stores.
Hannaford operates in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina under the Shop ‘n Save, Hannaford, Wilsons and The Grocery Store names.