Ingles Markets Sees Second-quarter Sales Increase

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Ingles Markets Inc. today said net sales for the March 2002 quarter increased 3.8 percent to $493.2 million from $475.2 million for the same quarter last year. Comparable store sales for the same period grew 4.7 percent.

The company noted that Easter-related sales were included in the second quarter this year, whereas last year's Easter sales fell in the third quarter. Comparable store sales growth for the quarter excluding the effect of Easter sales grew 4.0 percent.

Gross profit for the March 2002 quarter increased 5.7 percent to 26.9 percent of sales, compared with 26.4 percent of sales for the same quarter last year. Net income increased 4.6 percent to $3.3 million, compared with $3.2 million for the March 2001 quarter. Earnings per diluted share were $0.14 for both quarters.

Net sales for the six months ended March 30, 2002, increased 1.3 percent to $992.6 million compared with $979.9 million for the March 2001 six-month period. Comparable store sales grew 1.8 percent for the same period. Gross profit increased 2.6 percent to 26.3 percent of sales in the March 2002 six-month period compared with 25.9 percent in the March 2001 six-month period.

"We are extremely pleased that both our net sales growth and our comparable store sales growth in the March 2002 quarter returned to the levels we have experienced in the past. During our first quarter, unseasonably warm weather and a more conservative consumer-spending pattern challenged sales. During the March 2002 quarter, our sales increased over the prior year's quarter, in spite of the closing of seven stores since March 2001," said Robert P. Ingle, chairman and CEO.

"We continue to improve our gross margins through increased sales distribution in the higher margin perishable departments, by effective purchasing and inventory management and an increased focus on loss control," he added.

Ingle also noted that insurance expense was again the largest increase in operating and administrative expenses.
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