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    Weis Markets Logs Slight Q4, YTD Sales Gains

    SUNBURY, Pa. -- Weis Markets, Inc. here yesterday posted $577.6 million in sales for the 13-week period ending Dec. 30, 2006, vs. $601.9 million for the 14-week period last year. Adjusting for the extra week in 2005, the grocer's fourth-quarter sales rose 2.7 percent, and its comps grew 2.1 percent.

    SUNBURY, Pa. -- Weis Markets, Inc. here yesterday posted $577.6 million in sales for the 13-week period ending Dec. 30, 2006, vs. $601.9 million for the 14-week period last year. Adjusting for the extra week in 2005, the grocer's fourth-quarter sales rose 2.7 percent, and its comps grew 2.1 percent.

    Compared with the 53-week period ending Dec. 31, 2005, Weis' sales for the 52-week period ending Dec. 30, 2006 edged up 1.0 percent, to $2.2 billion. Adjusting for the extra week in 2005, the company's annual sales grew 2.8 percent, and its comparable store sales went up 2.0 percent.

    In 2006 the company's basic and diluted earnings per share were $2.07 and net income its totaled $56.0 million, vs. $2.35 per share and $63.4 million in 2005, respectively.

    "We came off a strong year in 2005, which had one additional week compared to 2006," said Weis Markets president and c.e.o. Norman S. Rich in a statement. "Despite these challenges, we achieved a record sales year. In 2006 we also accelerated our capital expenditure spending, investing more than $100 million in our store base and infrastructure. While we did not achieve our earnings goal, we made significant progress."

    Weis' fourth-quarter net income came to $14.0 million, compared to $18.4 million for the year-ago period. Current basic and diluted earnings per share were 52 cents per share, vs. 68 per share last year.

    According to the company, its year-over-year changes in fourth-quarter net income were adversely affected by the extra week in 2005; higher energy costs for utilities, fuel, and petroleum-based store supplies; advertising costs; closed store liabilities; and depreciation as a result of the grocer's accelerated capital expenditures.

    Weis said its net income for 2006 was lower because of higher credit and debit interchange fees; increased labor expenses attributable mainly to additional staffing requirements for new stores, expansions, and remodels; greater advertising costs; higher costs for fuel, utilities and petroleum-based store supplies; and a $1.2 million pre-tax impairment write-off for a closed store property.

    The company's board of directors recently OK'ed a plan to invest $72.5 million in capital expenditures for 2007.

    Weis Markets operates 156 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia. The company also owns and operates SuperPetz, a pet supply superstore chain with 31 locations in 10 states.

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