Sales for the fourth quarter of 2003 amounted to $1.5 billion, up 24% from $1.2 billion in the year-earlier period. The company's 2003 fiscal year included a 53rd week, which contributed approximately $101 million, or 8%, to sales growth for the quarter. All of the company's sales increase for the quarter represented internal growth. Inflation for the quarter was approximately 5%. Fourth quarter 2003 net earnings of $12.2 million were 30% below the $17.5 million recorded in 2002. Net earnings per share diluted for the fourth quarter 2003 totaled $0.26, down 30% from $0.37 in the year-earlier period.
Sales for the full year amounted to $5.5 billion, up 24% from $4.4 billion in the year-earlier period. For the full year 2003, internal growth amounted to approximately 17%, while acquisitions contributed the remaining 7% to sales growth. Inflation for 2003 amounted to approximately 2%. The 53rd week of sales contributed approximately 2% to sales growth for the full year of 2003. Net earnings for 2003 increased 12% to $74.2 million compared to $66.5 million a year ago. Net earnings per share diluted increased 8% to $1.54 versus $1.42 per share diluted in the year-earlier period.