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    Harris Teeter's Store Comps Up 3.97%

    Plans to open 12 stores in fiscal 2013

    Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc.’s sales for its fiscal year are up 5.8 percent to $4.54 billion, up from $4.29 billion in fiscal 2011. During the fourth quarter, sales increased 3.7 percent to $1.14 billion from $1.10 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.

    The increase was driven by a 3.97 percent jump in comparable store sales for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 2 and 3.01 percent increase for the quarter.

    During fiscal 2012, Progressive Grocer's Retailer of the Year finalized its acquisition of 10 Lowes Foods stores in the central Carolinas region, and Lowes Foods acquired six Harris Teeter stores in western North Carolina. After remodeling, six of the acquired stores were re-opened during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. Two of the acquired stores were re-opened under the new upscale format, 201central.

    As previously reported, the Matthews, N.C.-based supermarket operator sold its industrial thread manufacturing company American & Efird (A&E) on Nov. 7. The company reported net earnings of $82.5 million for fiscal 2012, compared to net earnings of $91.2 million for fiscal 2011. Net earnings for fiscal 2012 were comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $99.9 million, or $2.04 per diluted share, and losses from discontinued A&E operations of $17.4 million.

    Net earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 totaled $22.8 million. The company’s complete quarterly report is online.

    “We are pleased with our results for fiscal 2012 and the completion of our purchase and sale transaction with Lowes Foods,” Thomas Dickson, CEO, stated. “As we reported, the non-cash impairment charges and additional incremental expenses we incurred in this transaction reduced the company’s operating profit by $29.8 million and decreased the operating margin by 66 basis points in fiscal 2012. Without these additional costs, our operating profit for fiscal 2012 would have increased 11.1 percent and our operating margin would have increased 21 basis points over fiscal 2011."

    “Our pricing and promotional strategies continue to be effective in driving unit sales and customer visits," added Dickson. "On a comparable store basis, we continue to experience increased unit sales compared to the prior year and our store brand penetration continues to improve. We believe these positive results are attributable to our continuing commitment to our customers to deliver outstanding values and excellent customer service.”

    For the year, Harris Teeter opened 13 new stores and closed eight stores. A Washington, D.C. market is temporarily closed while the company repairs flood damage. Harris Teeter operated 208 stores in eight states as of the end of fiscal 2012 and retail square footage increased by 4.5 percent in fiscal 2012, as compared to an increase of 3.2 percent in fiscal 2011. Capital expenditures for fiscal 2012 totaled $200 million and are expected to total approximately $235 million for fiscal 2013. Twelve new stores, including two replacements and the two store locations acquired from Lowes Foods that were converted to the 201central format, and nine major remodels are planned during fiscal 2013.

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