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    Ingles Posts 45th Straight Year of Record Sales

    Ingles Markets, Inc. yesterday posted fiscal year 2009 net sales of $3.25 billion, the company’s 45th consecutive year of sales growth. Excluding gasoline sales, net sales increased 4.3 percent.

    Ingles Markets, Inc. yesterday posted fiscal year 2009 net sales of $3.25 billion, the company’s 45th consecutive year of sales growth. Excluding gasoline sales, net sales increased 4.3 percent. Fourth-quarter net sales came to $830.1 million, an increase of 1.5 percent (excluding gas) vs. the year-ago period.

    Net income was $5.2 million for the three months ended and $28.8 million for the fiscal year ended Sept.26, 2009, compared with $10.5 million and $52.1 million for the comparable three-month and fiscal year periods of 2008.

    “Our sales have continued to grow during this recession, and we’ve taken care of our financing for future growth and increased profitability,” noted Ingles CEO Robert P Ingle. “These are important long-term goals for Ingles.”

    Net sales totaled $830.1 million for the quarter ended Sept. 26, 2009, vs. $842.8 million for last year. Total and comparable-store sales comparisons were affected by retail gas prices, which were about 37 percent lower during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009 than in the year-ago period. Grocery-segment comps, excluding gas sales, grew 2.4 percent compared with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. This growth was helped by a 9.9 percent jump in average weekly customer visits, more than offsetting a $1.51 decline in the average purchase amount vs. the year-ago period, according to the Southeast regional grocer.

    Gross profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 was $184.8 million, a rise of $4.4 million from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, while operating and administrative expenses for the September 2009 quarter came to $161.1 million, an increase of $7.4 million, or 4.8 percent, over the year-ago period.

    Net income for the September 2009 quarter was $5.2 million vs. net income of $10.5 million last year, with basic and diluted earnings per share coming in at 23 cents and 22 cents per share, respectively, for the September 2009 quarter compared with 44 cents and 43 cents per share, respectively, last year.

    Excluding gas sales, grocery-segment comps rose 5.4 percent. The company attributed higher average customer transactions and lower average transaction sizes to more customers opting to eat at home and shifting their buying habits in favor of private label and value products.

    Gross profit for the fiscal year ended Sept. 26, 2009, grew $36.7 million, or 5.2 percent, to $743.1 million, from $706.3 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 27, 2008. Ingles said that the rise in grocery-segment gross profit dollars was mainly because of higher sales volume, and has responded to the current competitive environment by keeping prices as low as possible to boost sales and market share.

    Net income for fiscal year 2009 totaled $28.8 vs. $52.1 million for fiscal year 2008. Basic and diluted earnings per share were $1.23 and $1.18 per share, respectively, for the year ended Sept. 26, 2009, compared with $2.22 and $2.13 per share, respectively, for last year.

    The economy has spurred the food retailer to reduce the number of store construction projects it will undertake during the upcoming fiscal year. For fiscal year 2010, Ingles plans to open 10 new, replacement or remodeled stores and add three fuel stations either at existing stores or with new, replacement and remodeled stores. Total fiscal year 2010 cap ex is estimated at between $120 million and $150 million.

    Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles operates 200 supermarkets and 72 neighborhood shopping centers, all but 16 of which contain an Ingles supermarket.

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