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    Ingles Breaks $2 Billion Mark in Annual Sales

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Regional chain Ingles Markets, Inc. yesterday said that based on its preliminary financial results, fiscal 2004 was the first year the company has exceeded the $2 billion sales level.

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Regional chain Ingles Markets, Inc. yesterday said that based on its preliminary financial results, fiscal 2004 was the first year the company has exceeded the $2 billion sales level.

    Net sales increased 7.3 percent for the period over fiscal 2003, and 8.2 percent for the fourth fiscal quarter over the prior year's fourth. Comparable store sales increased 6.7 percent for 2004, and 8.2 percent for the fourth quarter.

    The chain reported preliminary net income of approximately $28 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 25, 2004, compared to approximately $17 million for fiscal 2003, restated.

    The company is restating its financial statements for fiscal 2002 and 2003 and the first three quarters of fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2003, following receipt of an informal inquiry from the SEC about its accounting practices.

    Ingles said in a statement that 2004 net income rose by approximately $1.3 million as a result of a change the company made in recognition of certain vendor allowances. The allowances were previously recorded in incorrect accounting periods, the company said.

    "We are so pleased to announce these wonderful results for 2004, even though they are only preliminary. Our team has made enormous strides this year in driving sales and controlling expenses,"' said c.e.o. Robert P. Ingle. "We regret the delay in our announcement and are looking forward to providing more details in the near future for fiscal 2004 and the restated periods."

    The company also noted that it identified changes in the interpretation of the accounting rules for certain leasing related transactions and the amortization periods of certain leasehold improvements. The correction of these lease related issues resulted in adjustments to accumulated depreciation, depreciation expense, rent expense, and long-term liabilities.

    Ingles said it intends to file a Form 10-K, including fiscal 2004 results and the restated results for fiscal 2002 and 2003, and amended Forms 10-Q for the first three quarters of fiscal 2004, including comparable periods in 2003, as soon as its restatements are complete.

    The company said it expects that fiscal 2003 net income will be slightly increased, and that net income for fiscal 2002 should drop by about $2 million as a result of the restatements. In addition, the restatements are expected to result in an increase in net income for the first, second, and third quarters of fiscal 2004 by an aggregate of approximately $700,000.

    Ingles Markets, based in Asheville, N.C., operates 197 supermarkets and 74 neighborhood shopping centers, all but 16 of which contain an Ingles supermarket.

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