Ingles Markets' Q1 Grocery Comps Jump 12.8 Percent

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Ingles Markets' Q1 Grocery Comps Jump 12.8 Percent

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Southeastern grocer Ingles Markets, Inc. here yesterday reported a 13.3 percent increase in sales, boosted by a 12.8 percent jump in same-store grocery segment sales, for its first quarter ended Dec. 29, 2007. Net income increased 13.7 percent to $12.7 million, the chain said.

Commenting on the results, c.e.o. Robert P. Ingle said in a statement, "Our holiday sales were the best ever. Our same-store grocery segment sales rose almost 13 percent and contributed to our record results. We believe our strategy of providing value to our customers through one-stop shopping with top-quality perishables, special promotions, ready-to-eat offerings, and fuel centers has been a major factor in our continued growth."

Net sales rose 13.3 percent to $777.1 million for the quarter, compared with $685.7 million for the quarter ended Dec. 30, 2006. The company said sales increased in every major department, led by increases in the gasoline, deli, and bakery departments. Grocery segment comparable-store sales growth was 12.8 percent. Both average weekly customer visits and the average purchase amount increased over the comparative first quarters.

Excluding gasoline sales, comparable-store sales increased $50.1 million, or 8.4 percent, for the three months ended Dec. 29, 2007. Compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2007, total gasoline gallons sold increased 18.6 percent and the average sales price per gallon increased 73 cents.

During the most recent quarter, Ingles opened three replacement stores, added four fuel centers, acquired four sites for future development, and purchased two shopping centers where the company operated leased stores. Ingles' capital expenditure plans for fiscal 2008 include investments of approximately $175 million. For the balance of this fiscal year, the company plans to open 10 new or replacement stores and add eight fuel stations at either new or existing stores.

Ingles has operations in six Southeastern states, including 197 supermarkets; and 73 neighborhood shopping centers, all but 16 of which contain an Ingles supermarket.