Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has had “a significant impact on [its] operations,” Ingles Markets Inc. reported higher sales and net income for the three months ended Dec. 26, 2020, its first quarter of fiscal year 2021.
“We are pleased with our results, and we all continue to work hard to provide a safe and reliable shopping environment for our associates and customers,” said Robert P. Ingle II, Ingles’ chairman of the board. “We are also honored to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”
The company’s net sales came to $1.19 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 26, 2020, a 10.4% increase compared with the $1.08 billion logged for the year-ago period. Its gross profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 was $314.2 million, or 26.4% of sales, versus $257.5 million, or 23.9% of sales, last year.
Ingles’ net income totaled $53.8 million for the Dec. 2020 quarter, compared with $17.7 million for the Dec. 2019 quarter, a 204% increase. Basic and diluted earnings per share for Class A Common Stock were $2.73 and $2.66, respectively, for the quarter ended Dec. 26, 2020, versus 90 cents and 87 cents, respectively, for the quarter ended Dec. 28, 2019.
The grocer’s operating and administrative expenses for the Dec. 2020 quarter were $238.2 million, compared with $222.0 million for the Dec. 2019 quarter. Ingles attributed most of this increase to higher personnel costs related to additional pandemic-driven safety measures.
The company’s total debt at the end of Dec. 2020 was $587.9 million, versus $850 million at the end of Dec. 2019. According to Ingles, it continues to reduce higher-rate debt and has refinanced debt at lower rates over the past 12 months.
Capital expenditures at the company for the Dec. 2020 quarter came to $34.2 million, compared with $31.1 million for the Dec. 2019 quarter. The grocer noted that its cap ex plans include stores that opened this fiscal year as well as locations slated to open later. Ingles noted that it “believes its financial resources, including the line of credit and other internal and anticipated external sources of funds, will be sufficient to meet planned capital expenditures, debt service and working capital requirements for the foreseeable future.”
The retailer also said that it “continues to provide additional pandemic support to its communities, including increased donations to local food banks and purchases from local vendors.”
Despite its current COVID-fueled financial performance, however, Ingles cautioned, “At this time the company cannot predict the impact of the pandemic on future periods.”
Operating 197 supermarkets in six southeastern states, Asheville, North Carolina-based Ingles is No. 52 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.