Ingles Markets' Q1 Income Up 44 Percent on Higher Sales

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Holiday and gasoline sales gains helped regional chain Ingles Markets, Inc. here achieve a 44 percent increase in net income, and a 10 percent increase in net sales for its fiscal quarter ended Dec. 30, 2006.

Net income increased $3.4 million, to $11.2 million, compared with net income of $7.8 million for the quarter ended December 2005, the chain said.

Commenting on the results, c.e.o. Robert P. Ingle said, "Holiday-related sales were very strong for us this quarter. Our customers benefited from our combination of promotions, everyday low pricing, and convenience."

Net sales increased 10.0 percent to $685.7 million for the quarter. Sales increased in every major department, led by increases in the gasoline, pharmacy, and deli departments, the company said. Grocery segment comparable store sales growth was 10.4 percent. Both average weekly customer visits and the average purchase amount increased over the comparative first quarters.

Excluding gasoline sales, first-quarter fiscal 2007 net sales increased 7.1 percent, while grocery segment comparable-store sales increased 7.4 percent. Gasoline gallons sold increased by 70.1 percent, and the average sales price per gallon decreased approximately 18 cents, compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2006.

Ingles said its capital expenditure plans for fiscal 2007 include investments of approximately $100 million. For the balance of this fiscal year, the company plans to open three new or replacement stores, remodel three stores, and add fuel stations at 13 existing stores.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2007, closing prices for Ingles' publicly traded Class A common stock ranged from $25.64 to $30.22 per share. During January 2007, the Class A common stock reached an all-time-high closing price of $36.81 per share.

Ingles Markets operates 197 supermarkets in six Southeastern states. In conjunction with its supermarket operations, the company also operates 74 neighborhood shopping centers, all but 19 of which contain an Ingles supermarket.
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