TORONTO — SunOpta, Inc. sustained a loss of $6,763,000 in the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, which compared with a loss of $10,936,000 in fiscal 2008. Sales for the year fell 6% to $989,132,000 from $1,055,173,000.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2009, SunOpta narrowed its loss to $2,214,000 from $17,045,000. Sales, meanwhile, rose 0.2% to $245,521,000 from $245,037,000.

“We are very pleased with the continued improvement in operating results within our core business segments,” said Steve Bromley, president and chief executive officer. “Our balance sheet continues to improve with reduced working capital levels and net reductions in debt. We remain focused on improving operating margins and return on assets employed and are very pleased that our extensive restructuring and repositioning initiatives are having a positive effect on our results. We are confident that this focus, when combined with growing consumer interest in health and wellness, positions our company for long-term success. We are looking forward to a return to profitability in 2010.”

SunOpta posted operating income of $20,822,000 in its SunOpta Foods unit during the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, down 9% from $22,833,000 in the same period a year ago. Sales fell 4% to $926,090,000 from $960,316,000.