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Ingles Markets, Inc. saw its 46th consecutive year of sales growth, as well as growth in profits, driven by an increase in average weekly visits, according to the company.
“Sales have increased and more people than ever are shopping at Ingles,” said Robert P. Ingle, CEO. “We’re very proud of that when everyone is competing for customers and the economic environment is not favorable.”
Net sales totaled a record $3.39 billion for the fiscal year ended September 2010, an increase of $139.1 million, or 4.3 percent from last year’s $3.25 billion and Ingles’ 46th consecutive year of record sales. Grocery segment sales for this period grew 1.7 percent excluding gasoline sales.
Fourth quarter sales rose 3.1 percent to $856 million compared to last year. Grocery segment sales grew 2.1 percent for the quarter excluding gasoline sales. The growth in comparable store sales benefited from a 5.4 percent increase in average weekly customer visits. Total and comparable store sales comparisons are affected by retail gasoline prices, according to Ingles, which reported them approximately 8.1 percent higher during 2010 compared with the prior year.
Net income totaled $8.5 million for the quarter and $31.7 million for the year, up from $5.2 million and $28.8 million last year.
Operating and administrative expenses for the quarter totaled $166.8 million, an increase of $5.6 million, or 3.5 percent over 2009. As a percentage of sales, operating and administrative expenses were 19.5 percent for the quarter, compared with 19.4 percent last year. These cost increases were associated with an increase in the number of stores and retail square footage. Ingles operated 202 stores and 10.8 million square feet of store space at the end of fiscal 2010, up from 200 stores and 10.7 million square feet last year.
During fiscal 2010, Ingles opened four new, replacement, or remodeled stores. It reduced the number of planned projects in fiscal 2010 due to soft economic conditions. For fiscal 2011, the company plans to open five new, replacement, or remodeled stores and add six fuel stations either at existing stores or in conjunction with its new, replacement, and remodeled stores, and expects capital expenditures to increase to an estimated level between $100 million and $140 million in fiscal 2011.