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    Ingles Q1 Net Sales Inch Up

    CEO: Holiday-season low prices ‘will benefit us in the long run’

    Ingles Markets Inc. has reported net sales of $945.1 million for its first fiscal quarter ended Dec. 28, 2013, a 1.1 percent increase from the year-ago period’s $935 million. Net income was $9.5 million for the December 2013 quarter, versus $11.6 million for the quarter ended December 2012.

    “We wanted to keep prices low for our customers throughout the holiday season,” noted Robert P. Ingle II, CEO of Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles, which operates more than 200 stores in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. “We believe these actions strengthened ties with our customers and will benefit us in the long run.”

    For the comparable December 2013 and 2012 quarters and excluding gasoline sales, grocery-segment comparable-store sales dipped 0.8 percent, weekly customer visits rose slightly and the average transaction amount fell by a small amount.

    Ongoing Store Construction

    Gross profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 was $203.5 million, a decline of $4.7 million, or 2.3 percent versus the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 21.5 percent for the first quarter of fiscal 2014, compared with 22.3 percent for the year-ago period.

    Total operating expenses totaled $177.4 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2014, compared with last year’s $174.8 million. Operating and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales, excluding gas sales and associated operating expenses, were 21.9 percent and 21.6 percent for the three months ended Dec. 28, 2013, and Dec. 29, 2012, respectively.

    Basic and diluted earnings per share for Ingles’ publicly traded Class A common stock were 44 cents and 42 cents per share, respectively, for the December 2013 quarter compared with 50 cents and 48 cents per share, respectively, for the December 2012 quarter.

    Capital expenditures came to $30.8 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 28, 2013. According to Ingles, most of these expenditures were related to remodeling projects in various stores and to new store construction. Cap ex totaled $28.1 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 29, 2012. Ingles said its fiscal year 2014 cap ex plans include investments of about $100 million to $140 million.
     

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