Consumers cooking a lot more meat and seafood at home during quarantine helped Weis Markets post record profits and comps during the fourth quarter and fiscal 2020.
During the 13-week period ended Dec. 26, the company's sales increased 13.7% to $1 billion compared to the same period in 2019, while same-store sales increased 14.1%. Income from operations in the fourth quarter totaled $26.9 million compared to $23 million in the same period in 2019. The company's fourth quarter net income increased 2.8% to $19.4 million compared to $18.9 million in 2019, while earnings per share totaled 73 cents compared to 70 cents per share for the same period in 2019.
"The pandemic has been a supreme challenge for our communities and associates who continue to diligently serve our customers," said Jonathan H. Weis, Weis Markets' Chairman and CEO. "As previously noted in our third quarter results release, in-home meal consumption soared in 2020 due to an increased number of customers and their families working or attending school remotely. We met this demand by ensuring a safe shopping environment for our customers and associates and operating stores that were consistently in-stock. Our results were made possible by increased replenishment schedules, adaptable procurement programs, enhanced e-commerce solutions, disciplined marketing and pricing programs, improved store, manufacturing and distribution efficiencies and consistent customer service."
Weis said e-commerce sales increased 155% in 2020. He also noted the strong sales performance of the company's fresh departments, notably meat and seafood, which benefited from increased at home cooking.
For fiscal 2020, Weis Markets reported total sales of over $4.1 billion, up 16.1% compared to the same period a year ago, while annual comps increased 16.4%. Income from operations increased $78.5 million, or 92.8% over the same period in 2019 to $163.2 million.
The company's net income for fiscal 2020 increased 74.9% to $118.9 million compared to $68.0 million in 2019 while earnings per share for the same period increased $1.89 to $4.42 per share.
Sunbury, Pennsylvania-based Weis Markets operates 196 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia. The company is No. 58 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.