US grocer Safeway reported a $1.05m fourth quarter net loss due to charges for its Randall's and Dominick's chains Stateside.

Safeway's sales rose to $10bn from $9.23bn on the back of new stores, while like-for-like sales fell 1.3% and blamed continued weakness in the economy for the drop.

For the full year 2002 the food and drug retailer posted a net loss of $828.1m compared with net income of $1.25bn for 2001. Sales rose 1.9% to $32.4bn from $31.8bn.

Safeway said gross margins had declined more than expected and operating and administrative expenses would continue to rise into the first quarter.

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