Giant Food Inc. officials, saying the company is in its strongest financial position ever, told stockholders yesterday that sales are expected to reach a record $2 billion this year.
Although earnings are also expected to increase substantially, officials declined to make any projections. The company is nonetheless "hopeful that we can maintain the current earnings trend," said David B. Sykes, senior vice president for finance.
Sales reached the $1 billion mark in 1979, and would have to rise by about 8 percent over last year's total to hit the $2-billion level. Giant recently reported that sales for the second quarter rose 5.3 percent, while net income was up 2.5 percent. Those figures represent results from continuing operations and do not include a gain on the sale of Giant's Richmond stores last year.
"As a result of our outstanding operating results, our financial health is the best ever," Sykes told shareholders at the company's annual meeting, which was held in Jessup.
Giant officials said the company should have a strong cash base at the end of February, positioning it to explore several new areas that are designed to boost volume.
Early next year, for example, Giant will begin testing automatic bank teller machines in its Rockville-area stores. The chain plans to have all of its pharmacies equipped with computerized prescription programs by the end of 1984.
Although Giant will continue to expand as population and other factors dictate, the Landover-based food chain will concentrate more on updating existing food/pharmacy stores, chairman Israel Cohen said. The company is spending more than $50 million in capital expenditures this year and a substantial portion of that has been earmarked for remodeling and enlarging existing units, Cohen said.
Nonetheless, Giant plans to open new stores at a rate of four to seven over the next two years, he added.
Meanwhile, Giant will open what will be the chain's flagship store in early November--a 60,000 square-foot food/pharmacy combination store on Rockville Pike. The new store will contain several expanded departments and some features found in Giant's gourmet store, Something Special, in McLean.