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    Ingles Markets Reports Strong Performance in 3Q

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Southeastern chain Ingles Markets, Inc. yesterday reported both sales and earnings increases for its third quarter ended June 26.

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Southeastern chain Ingles Markets, Inc. yesterday reported both sales and earnings increases for its third quarter ended June 26.

    Net income for the quarter increased $4.6 million to $8.2 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, compared to the June 2003 quarter. Net sales were up 6.8 percent, while comparable store sales grew 6.5 percent.

    Income from operations rose an impressive 50.6 percent, due to strong sales growth, improved gross margin, and a decrease in operating costs, as a percentage of sales.

    "We are excited about our strong performance this quarter," said c.e.o. Robert P. Ingle in a statement. "We continue to focus on ways to improve our customers' shopping experience, as evidenced by our impressive sales growth."

    During a conference call yesterday, finance v.p. and c.f.o. Brenda Tudor noted: "We are obviously very pleased with our performance for the quarter and the first nine months of our year. We believe we have the right team in place that is focused on building customer loyalty and improving the customer's overall shopping experience by providing quality, value, and experience. This in turn should increase earnings and stockholder value."

    Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., Ingles Markets operates 196 supermarkets in six Southeastern states. The company also operates 76 neighborhood shopping centers, all but 18 of which contain an Ingles supermarket.

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