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A new store opening and a 1.8 percent increase in same-store sales drove increased fiscal fourth-quarter sales for Springfield, N.J.-based Village Super Market, Inc., which operates a chain of 26 ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.
Sales were $311 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 ended July 25, an increase of 4.3 percent from the prior year. Same store sales increased due to higher sales at the Galloway and Franklin, N.J., stores, which opened last year and are now included in same-store sales, as well as improved transaction counts.
Same-store sales were negatively affected by a decrease in the average transaction size and cannibalization from the opening of the Marmora store. The company believes the lower same-store sales growth in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 compared with the first nine months of fiscal 2009 is because of deflation in certain commodities and changing consumer behavior due to economic weakness, which has resulted in increased sale item penetration, coupon usage and trading down, according to the grocer.
Because of these trends, which Village Super Market said continued in August and September, and in comparison with a strong October 2008 quarter, it expects same-store sales for the October 2009 quarter to increase by 0.25 percent to 1.25 percent, and believes it will be difficult to match the earnings level achieved in the October 2008 quarter. In addition, the retailer expects same-store sales for all of fiscal 2010 to increase by 1 percent to 3 percent.
Litigation charges resulted in a 3 percent drop in net income for the quarter, to $6.7 million. Excluding the $708,000 charge, net income increased 7 percent for the quarter vs. last year.
Sales for fiscal 2009 were $1.2 billion, an increase of 7.1 percent from last year, and same-store sales increased 4.8 percent for fiscal 2009. Net income for the fiscal year was $27.2 million, an increase of 21 percent from the prior year -- 24 percent without the litigation charge.