International Harvester Co. continued to struggle in its fiscal first quarter, saying yesterday it posted a loss on continuing operations of $165.5 million in the period ended Jan. 31.

Meanwhile, Safeway Stores Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. both said profits were up for their 1982 fiscal years.

Harvester said its loss on sales of $722 million was less severe than the year-earlier loss from continuing operations of $276 million on sales of $891 million.

The truck and farm-equipment manufacturer had a net loss of $1.64 billion during fiscal 1982 and has been trying to weather its financial problems by trimming its operations and restructuring its debt of more than $4 billion.

Harvester also has arranged about $83 million in concessions from its suppliers, mainly in the form of extended credit terms.

In the latest quarter, Harvester reported a one-time gain of $54.1 million that narrowed its net loss to $111.3 million.

The net loss during the 1981 first quarter was $288 million, which included a $12 million loss from discontinued operations. In the 1982 fourth quarter, ended Oct. 31, Harvester reported a loss from continuing operations of $264.5 million on sales of $979.5 million.Safeway Stores Inc. yesterday reported record earnings for the year ended Jan. 1 of $159.7 million ($6.11 share), up 47 1/2 percent from $108.3 million ($4.15) for 1981.

Sales were up 6.3 percent to $17.63 billion in 1982 from $16.58 billion in 1981.

The company said the record earnings for 1982 resulted from improved real sales and extensive cost-control measures, as well as declining interest rates.

Net income for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 1 increased 32 percent to $62.5 million on sales of $5.51 billion, compared with profits of $47.5 million on sales of $5.27 billion in the 1981 period.

Warner Communications Inc., said it earned $3.96 a share last year, up from $3.57 in 1981, but fourth-quarter profits slipped to 50 cents a share from $1.17 a year earlier in spite of an $11.4 million tax credit.

The poor fourth-quarter performance was expected after Warner announced Dec. 8 that Atari Inc.'s sales of arcade games and home cartridges were well below expectations.

Net income for the year was $257.81 million on revenues of $3.991 billion compared with $226.49 million on sales of $3.237 billion.

Fourth-quarter net income was $33 million on sales of $1.123 billion compared with $75.84 million a year earlier on sales of $1.086 billion.

The company said consumer electronics revenues for the year were up 64 percent and operating profit up 13 percent. Sales and earnings on recorded music and music publishing declined both in the United States and abroad. Direct response marketing revenues were up but profit from this business was down because of foreign currency translation losses. Publishing and printed media distribution earnings also fell in spite of increased revenues.