Ingles Posts Higher Q1 Sales, Net Income

Ingles Markets Inc. has reported a 1.6 percent increase in net sales to $932.8 million for its first fiscal quarter ended Dec. 29, 2012. Net income rose 9.2 percent to $11.6 million for the quarter compared with $10.6 million in the year-ago period.

“We are off to a good start for fiscal 2013, our 50th year,” said Robert P. Ingle, CEO of Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles, which operates 203 supermarkets in six southeastern states. “The holiday season was very competitive for our industry, and we responded well.”

Net sales were $918.2 million last year. For the comparable December 2012 and 2011 quarters and excluding gasoline sales, grocery segment comparable-store sales grew 1.5 percent, weekly customer visits were up 1.4 percent, and the average transaction amount was essentially flat.

Gross profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 went up $6.2 million to $207.9 million versus the year-ago period. Gross profit as a percentage of sales climbed to 22.3 percent for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 compared with 22 percent last year.

Total operating expenses were $174.8 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, from $171.8 million in the year-ago period. Operating and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales, excluding gas sales and associated operating expenses, were 21.7 percent and 21.6 percent for the three months ended Dec. 29, 2012, and Dec. 24, 2011, respectively.

Basic and diluted earnings per share for Ingles’ publicly traded Class A common stock were 50 cents and 48 cents per share, respectively, for the December 2012 quarter, versus 45 cents and 43 cents per share, respectively, for the December 2011 quarter.

Capital expenditures came to $28.1 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 29, 2012, mostly related to remodeling projects in a number of the grocer’s stores and to new store construction. Cap ex was $63.7 million for the year-ago period, an “unusually high amount” that Ingles said included the construction costs of a distribution facility.

The company’s cap ex plans for fiscal year 2013 include investments of about $100 million to $130 million, with the majority of costs going to improve its store base.

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