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    Ingles Posts Q1 Grocery Sales Growth

    Gas profits down, personnel costs up

    Ingles Markets has reported a 2.6 percent grocery sales increase, excluding gasoline sales, for its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 26, 2015, compared with the quarter ended Dec. 27, 2014. Net income came to $13 million for the quarter, versus $15 million for the year-ago period.

    “We are very pleased with the continued growth in our grocery sales and will continue to provide value to our customers both inside the store and at our fuel locations,” said CEO Robert P. Ingle II.

    However, according to the grocer, gas gross profit was considerably higher during last year’s first fiscal quarter than this year’s, and personnel-related costs were also higher.

    Q1 net sales totaled $951.1 million, versus $964.5 million for the year-ago period, a decline of $13.4 million. Gas gallons sold increased, but gas dollar sales fell $29.4 million from Q1 2014 to Q1 2015, as the average per-gallon sales price dropped about 29 percent. Comparable-store sales, excluding gas, grew 2.3 percent. The number of customer transactions (excluding gas) rose slightly, while the comparable average transaction size (excluding gas) edged up 1.7 percent from last year.

    Gross profit for Q1 increased to $225.6 million, or 23.7 percent of sales, compared to $224.4 million, or 23.3 percent of sales, last year.

    Capital expenditures were $40.6 million for Q1, compared with $27.6 million for the year-ago. Ingles primarily attributed the increase to sites purchased for future store development. During the 12 months ended December 2015, the grocer opened one new store and closed two that are currently being rebuilt. Ingles expects total fiscal 2016 cap ex to be between $100 million and $140 million.

    Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles has 201 supermarkets in six southeastern states. In tandem with its supermarket operations, the company operates neighborhood shopping centers, most of which contain an Ingles supermarket. Ingles also owns a fluid-dairy facility that supplies its supermarkets and unaffiliated customers.

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