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    Ingles Posts 48th Straight Year of Sales Growth

    Southeast grocer saw rises in Q4, fiscal ’12 net sales, comps, gross profit

    Ingles Markets Inc. has reported record fiscal 2012 sales of $3.71 billion, its 48th consecutive year of sales growth.

    “We are pleased that our sales have grown every year since our company started almost 50 years ago,” noted Robert P. Ingle II, CEO of Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles, adding, “We look forward to the next 50 years of growth and profitability for our customers and shareholders.”

    Net sales rose 9.5 percent to $991.8 million for the quarter ended Sept. 29, compared with $905.8 million in the year-ago period. Ingles attributed the 2 percent growth in grocery-segment comparable-store sales to increases in average weekly customer visits and in the average purchase amount versus the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.

    Gross profit for the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter increased to $220 million, a rise of $17.6 million, compared with last year. Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 22.2 percent for the quarter, compared with 22.4 percent in the year-ago period. Grocery-segment gross margins, excluding gas, were 26.1 percent for both the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter and the fiscal 2011 fourth quarter.

    Net income for the September 2012 quarter grew to $13.3 million, compared with $11 million in the year-ago period. Basic and diluted earnings per share for the Ingles’ publicly traded Class A common stock increased to 58 cents and 55 cents per share, respectively, for the September 2012 quarter, versus 47 cents and 45 cents per share, respectively, last year.

    For the fiscal year ended Sept. 29, net sales came to a record $3.71 billion, an increase of $149.5 million, or 4.2 percent, from the $3.56 billion logged last year. Grocery-segment comps increased 1.9 percent, excluding gas sales. The number of customer transactions grew 1.5 percent and the average transaction size increased by seven cents, excluding gas sales.

    Gross profit for the 2012 fiscal year rose $28.3 million, or 3.6 percent, to $820.1 million, or 22.1 percent of sales, versus $791.9 million, or 22.2 percent of sales, for the 2011 fiscal year.

    The increase in grocery-segment gross profit dollars was mainly because of higher sales volume, Ingles said. Grocery-segment gross profit as a percentage of total sales, excluding gas, was 25.9 percent and 25.8 percent for fiscal 2012 and 2011, respectively. According to the grocer, the beneficial effect of a favorable change in sales mix and modest inflation was generally offset by competitive effects. Ingles’ response to the current competitive environment has been to keep prices as low as possible to boost sales and market share.

    Net income for fiscal 2012 grew 11.2 percent to $43.4 million, compared with $39.1 million last year. Basic and diluted earnings per share for Ingles’ publicly traded Class A common stock increased to $1.87 and $1.79 per share, respectively, for the 2012 fiscal year, versus with $1.67 and $1.60 per share, respectively, for fiscal 2011.

    Capital expenditures totaled $180.6 million and $97.5 million for fiscal 2012 and 2011, respectively. The largest cap ex in fiscal 2012 was for the completion of the grocer’s new distribution center, including the cost of related vehicles and equipment.

    Ingles operates 203 supermarkets, as well as 69 shopping centers, all but 12 of which contain an Ingles supermarket.
     

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