Ingles Said Slowing Store Expansion

Ingles Markets said this week that it's cutting back on store construction, but that due to several building projects already underway, the new strategy will take some time to become apparent, according to a published report.

The remarks came from CFO Ron Freeman at the company's annual shareholders meeting. He further noted that the spending slowdown would continue until the company received an indication of whether the economy was recovering.

Ingles opened 12 new, replacement or remodeled stores during its fiscal year 2008 and will open the same number during fiscal 2009, according to Freeman.

In its latest financial results, the Black Mountain, N.C.-based company noted that an economy in the doldrums and costs connected with new stores have led to recent earnings declines.

"In a slow economy, it takes a little longer for our new stores to ramp up," Freeman offered as a further rationale for the company's decision, as quoted in the Asheville, N.C. Citizen-Times.

Freeman said, however, that grocer was still committed to the idea making its locations one-stop shopping destinations, and to that end renovating, expanding or replacing them over time.
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