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    Village Super Market Sees Successful Q4

    Net income grew 9 percent, and sales grew nearly 11 percent, over the year-ago period.

    Village Super Market, Inc. yesterday reported fourth-quarter net income of $6,891,000, a 9 percent increase from the year-ago period, and attributed the gains to improved sales and lower operating expenses as a percentage of sales.

    The chain, which operates ShopRite stores in New Jersey, said for net income for the quarter ended July 26, 2008, was partially offset by lower gross profit percentages and lower interest income.

    Sales were $297,968,000 in the fourth quarter, an increase of 10.7 percent from last year, the grocer said. It attributed the sales growth to the opening of two stores earlier in the fiscal year, and same-store sales gains of 3.6 percent.

    Food inflation contributed to the same-store sales rise, the company added, as did the distribution of economic stimulus checks in the quarter. These improvements were partially offset by lower sales at three stores because of a competitive store opening, and cannibalization from the opening of the two stores in Galloway and Franklin.

    Village Super Market admitted, however, that sales were adversely affected by increased sale item penetration, and by consumers trading down, as customers seemed to grow more cautious in the face of the worsening economic situation, and skyrocketing gas and food costs. Improved transaction count and average transaction size both contributed to the growth of same-store sales.

    Net income for the fiscal year was $22,543,000, a 10 percent increase from the year-ago period, while fiscal 2008 sales were $1,127,762,000, a rise of 7.8 percent from last year.

    Same-store sales grew 2.5 percent in fiscal 2008. Fiscal 2008 net income improved from last year because of higher sales, better gross profit percentages, and lower operating expenses as a percentage of sales, the company noted.

    Springfield, N.J.-based Village Super Market operates a chain of 25 supermarkets under the ShopRite banner in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

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