4TH-QUARTER EARNINGS RISE 21.7% AT SHOPKO

NEW YORK — Citing a successful absorption of its acquisition of the Pamida discount chain, Shopko Stores Inc. reported fourth-quarter earnings climbed 21.7 percent.
The discounter, based in Green Bay, Wis., earned $49.4 million, or $1.66 a share, up from $40.6 million, or $1.53, a year ago. The latest quarter included a $3.9 million special pre-tax charge related to its July 1999 purchase of Pamida.
Sales climbed 37.1 percent to $1.26 billion from $921.3 million for the quarter. Same-store sales at the Shopko chain advanced 3.9 percent.
“The Pamida integration was a clear success and is largely behind us,” said William Podany, chairman, president and chief executive, in a statement.
He cited cost savings in 1999 synergies of $7 million, “coming in at the high end of our projected range,” and added that the company expects cumulative “synergies to total $15-20 million in 2000 and $20 million in 2001.” “We will maintain our intense focus on customer service and store operations and synergy goals for this thriving business unit.”
The Pamida chain — which aims at smaller, rural communities — added 15 new units to close with 157, while 13 Shopko units, based in midsized and larger cities, opened to bring that chain’s count to 160. For 2000, the firm plans to add between 5-9 Shopko units and 20-25 Pamida stores.
In the full year, earnings surged to $102.2 million, or $3.57, from $55.6 million, or $2.10, a year ago, largely due to a $56.9 million pre-tax gain from sale of 35.5 percent of its pharmaceutical subsidiary, ProVantage, in an initial public offering.
Revenues climbed 31.7 percent to $3.9 billion for the year, from $2.97 billion.
Earlier this week, Podany assumed the title of chairman, succeeding Dale Kramer, who continues as a director.
Podany joined ShopKo in 1994 as executive vice president. He was named president and chief operating officer of the company’s retail division and was added to the board of directors in 1996.
He succeeded Kramer as president and chief executive last year.

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