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Holding back price increases to help out shoppers during the recession may have bitten into Stater Bros.' profits, but it added 1 million to its traffic count for the quarter, according to chairman, president, and CEO Jack H. Brown.
"Our plan is to assist our customers during these very tough economic times...and the plan is working," he said. "By holding back on price increases, which affected our profits, we served approximately 1 million more customers in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 than in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Our financial performance in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 reflects the overall impact of the current economic downturn.
"The tough economy has hit our marketing area of the Inland Empire especially hard as we have seen business closures, layoffs and increases in unemployment. The uncertain economic future has caused our customers to tighten their family budgets, and we have responded by giving even more value for their shopping dollar while continuing to provide a friendly and satisfying shopping experience on each and every one of their visits to our supermarkets. We remain committed to controlling costs and keeping our valued customer base as we weather the effect of these economic times."
Even without price increases sales were still up for the grocer for the first quarter of fiscal 2009, which ended Dec. 28, 2008. Sales increased 1.72 percent to $959.3 million compared with $943.0 million last year. Same store sales increased 1.40 percent, or $12.7 million, for the quarter. Net income for first quarter of fiscal 2009 was $3.5 million, compared with net income of $10.8 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008.
San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. operates 165 supermarkets.