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Fresh Foods Help Weis Grow Comp Sales 5% in Q4, 3.5% in Year

SUNBURY, Pa. - Increased perishable sales and successful sales building strategies helped Weis Markets, Inc. here grow sales 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter to $603 million compared to the same period a year ago. Even better, same store sales increased a healthy 5 percent in the 13-week period ending December 29, 2007.

On the other hand, basic and diluted earnings per share decreased $.20 to $.32 per share compared to the same period a year ago, and Weis Markets' fourth quarter net income totaled $8.6 million, vs. $14 million in 2006.

The 155-store retailer said its fourth quarter earnings were hurt by a 1.3 percent gross profit rate decline, to 24.7 percent in 2007 from 26 percent in 2006. Although the company said it focused heavily on continuing aggressive promotional and competitive pricing activities, significant wholesale food inflation prevailing during the fourth quarter contributed to the gross profit decline.

For the 52-week period ending December 29, 2007, Weis Markets' sales increased 3.3 percent to $2.3 billion, while its comparable store sales increased 3.5 percent. Year to date net income decreased 9 percent to $51 million and basic and diluted earnings per share decreased $.18 to $1.89 per share.

Weis Markets, Inc. currently operates 155 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. The company also owns and operates SuperPetz, a pet supply superstore chain with 31 locations in ten states.
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