The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. grocery chain reported yesterday its first profit in more than two years, but A&P officials said some or all of the 19 stores A&P operates in metropolitan Washington may be closed if it doesn't get concessions from local employes.
A&P officials reported first-quarter sales ending June 19 at $1.4 billion and a net profit of $8.5 million (23 cents a share). In the first reporting period last year, the company had sales of $1.7 billion but a net loss of $10.4 million.
The grocery chain has scaled back drastically its operations across the country in a restructuring program begun last fall. A&P closed almost one-third of its stores in the past 12 months, bringing the chain's total outlets to 1,057.
The chain's Washington-area stores, however, are continuing to lose money, according to A&P Executive Vice President Robert Bradford. A&P is considering closings unless employes agree to reductions in pay and fringe benefits, Bradford indicated.
"We're not going to continue to operate stores that don't make a profit," he said.
Thomas McNutt, president of Local 400 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union that represents grocery employes in Washington, was pessimistic about reaching an agreement that would satisfy A&P.
McNutt said if he granted concessions to A&P, other supermarket chains would ask for similar reductions in wages and benefits.