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    Weis First-quarter Sales, Earnings Dip

    SUNBURY, Pa. -- Weis Markets, Inc. here said its first quarter sales for the 13-week period ending April 1, 2006 declined 0.4 percent to $547.8 million, and that its net income declined 11 percent vs. the same period a year ago.

    SUNBURY, Pa. -- Weis Markets, Inc. here said its first quarter sales for the 13-week period ending April 1, 2006 declined 0.4 percent to $547.8 million, and that its net income declined 11 percent vs. the same period a year ago.

    Company officials cited a late Easter as a key reason for the soft first-quarter results. During the first quarter the company's basic and diluted earnings per share totaled 55 cents, compared with 62 per cents share for the same period a year ago, while same-store sales declined 0.9 percent.

    "Our sales and net income were negatively impacted by the timing of the Easter holiday, which was celebrated in late March a year ago but fell three weeks later in 2006," said Norman S. Rich, Weis Markets' c.e.o. and president. "Our results were also affected by a very mild winter, particularly in Pennsylvania, where we operate most of our stores."

    Weis said its second-quarter financial results would be favorably impacted by the timing of the Easter holiday, which produced record sales this year.

    In February Weis introduced its new advertising campaign, "Where Freshness Matters," featuring newly designed print, electronic, and in-store ads emphasizing the quality and value of its perishables. During the quarter the chain opened a new superstore in Ranson, W.V. and completed a remodel in Hummelstown, Pa.

    At its annual shareholders' meeting earlier this month, the company said that it's investing $90.6 million for expansion and growth, with plans build six superstores, including four replacements; 15 additions; and 17 remodels.

    Weis operates 158 stores in five states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia. Included in this total are stores operating under the Mr. Z's, King's and Scot's Lo-Cost banners. It also owns SuperPetz, a pet supply superstore chain with 31 units in 10 states.

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