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    Weis Markets Q3 Sales Up 7%; Profits Dip on Higher Costs

    Same store sales rose 6.2 percent in the quarter vs. the year ago, the Pa.-based chain said.

    Targeted promotions and transaction building programs, along with improved store-level operating practices and higher sales of private label items, helped lift Weis Markets, Inc.'s third quarter sales 7 percent to $604 million vs. a year ago.

    The Sunbury, Pa.-based grocer said its same store sales rose 6.2 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

    However, profits took a hit from higher costs and also a pre-tax impairment loss, said the grocer. Net income for the 13-week period ending September 27, 2008 dropped to $8 million, or $0.30 per share, from $10.8 million or $0.40 per share in the year-ago quarter.

    Results for the third quarter included a $1.7 million pre-tax impairment loss due to the planned closure of a store in the fourth quarter, as well as a 29 percent increase in health and business insurance costs alongside a 55 percent increase in fuel costs and a 15 percent increase in interchange fees, Weis Markets said.

    The company said its sales continued to benefit from strong, targeted promotions and transaction building programs. Improved store-level operations and a 4.6 percent increase in private label products also helped.

    Year to date, Weis Markets' sales increased 5 percent to $1.8 billion, while its same store sales were also up 5 percent. The grocer's YTD earnings-per-share, however, slipped to $1.11 from $1.57 per share in 2007, while net income totaled $30 million vs. $42 million in 2007.

    Weis Markets operates 155 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.

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