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Ingles Markets Reports 2.6% Adjusted Increase in Fourth Quarter Sales

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Ingles Markets today reported higher sales and margins for the fourth quarter.

Total sales for the fourth quarter decreased 4.8%, but when adjusted for its difference (fiscal year 2000 contained an extra week), sales increased 2.6%. Comparable store sales increased 3.5%.

Gross margins improved to 26.4% of sales vs. 25.8% for the same period last year. Operating and administrative expenses were 23.7% of sales compared with 22.9% for the same period last year. Interest expense decreased $1.1 million primarily due to the effects of the extra week in the fiscal 2000 quarter together with lower interest rates in the fiscal 2001 quarter.

Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001 increased 3.2% to $4.3 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared with $4.2 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000.

Fiscal 2001 contained 52 weeks compared with 53 weeks in fiscal 2000. Total sales increased 1.9% for the fiscal year ended September 29, 2001, over the fiscal year ended September 30, 2000. However, adjusted for the difference in weeks, sales increased 3.9%. Comparable store sales grew 3.6% for fiscal 2001 compared with fiscal 2000.

Commenting on the results, Robert P. Ingle, chairman and CEO, stated, "During fiscal 2001 we focused on improving our existing store base. Nine of our existing stores were either replaced or underwent major remodel/expansions. We made the decision to close seven of our older stores. Our comparable store sales have remained strong, while our gross margins continue to improve through effective purchasing and expansion of higher margin departments. We are thankful for another successful year, and we never lose sight of the importance of our customers and our employees in creating our success."

Ingles Markets, Incorporated is a leading supermarket chain with operations in six southeastern states. Headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, the company operates 203 supermarkets. In conjunction with its supermarket operations, the company also operates 77 neighborhood shopping centers, all but 14 of which contain an Ingles supermarket.
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