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SUNBURY, Pa. - Weis Markets chairman Robert F. Weis today told shareholders that the company would invest $92.7 million in its growth and expansion program, which includes 28 store projects.
At the company's annual shareholder meeting, which was held in the Weis corporate office in Sunbury, Pa., Weis and Weis Markets president and c.e.o. Norman S. Rich reviewed the company results for 2003 and the company's plans for the future.
"At Weis Markets we are strongly focused on growth and continuous improvement," said Robert F. Weis, chairman. "In 2004 we expect to ramp up our capital investment program to $93.2 million -- a considerable increase over 2003. At store level we hope to begin work on 28 store projects this year, including the construction of five superstores."
Current company plans also call for the expansion of nine units and the remodel of 14 others. Weis noted that while these projects will begin in 2004, some might not be completed until 2005.
This is the latest round of the company's expansion and growth program. Since 1995, Weis Markets has invested more than $500 million to build or open 54 superstores and remodel or expand 79 others. As a result of this program, the company has added more than 1.7 million square feet of new retail space since 1995, an increase of more than 30 percent.
Weis also updated shareholders on the upgrade of the company's 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center. Last year the Weis Markets began a project to reconfigure 525,000 square feet of this facility. Weis said this upgrade would improve the facility's existing storage capacity and overall productivity.
The company's capital budget also covers its technology investments. Weis Markets' president and c.e.o., Norman S. Rich, informed shareholders about the retailer's technology initiatives.
"Improvements in retail technology have helped transform our business over the past 15 years," Rich said. "We continue to make substantial technology investments that will help increase efficiencies and improve productivity at every level of our company."
The company's technology initiatives include an expanded and improved loyalty marketing program with enhanced functionality and versatility, and enhancements and upgrades to the company's in-house data warehouse.
Rich also said the company had completed the rollout of its new direct store delivery system in 2003. He added that the company now has self-scan lanes in 80 stores and expects to have the units in approximately 100 stores by the end of the year.
Founded in 1912, Weis Markets operates 158 stores in six states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. The company also owns and operates 33 SuperPetz units in 11 states.