Ralphs Earnings on Rise: Ralphs Grocery Co. reported a 23% increase in operating income in its fourth quarter, compared to a year earlier. Operating income for the quarter totaled $41.6 million. The Los Angeles-based grocery store operator had a net loss of $21.4 million during the quarter. Much of that loss was attributed to a $14.8-million write-down for costs associated with a private bond placement--part of Ralphs’ debt restructuring. The company had fourth-quarter sales of $875.1 million, compared to sales of $912.3 million a year ago. For the 52-week period ended Jan. 31, Ralphs had a loss of $76.1 million, compared to a loss of $41.2 million for the previous 52-week period.