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Weis Markets Posts Hefty Increases in Q4, Fiscal Year

SUNBURY, Pa. -- Regional grocer Weis Markets, Inc. here reported a 21.6 percent leap in its fourth-quarter net income and 12.1 percent growth in its fourth-quarter sales for the 14-week period ending Dec.31, 2005, vs. the 13-week period ending Dec. 25, 2004.

For the 53-week period ending Dec. 31, 2005, Weis' net income grew 10.9 percent to $63.4 million, or $2.35 earnings per share, vs. $57.2 million, or $2.11 earnings per share, for the 52-week period ending Dec. 25, 2004. In 2005 the retailer's sales went up 6.0 percent to $2.2 billion, while its comparable-store sales, adjusted for a 52-week comparison, rose 4.0 percent.

At the retailer's quarterly meeting yesterday, the company also noted it would invest $90.6 million in its capital expenditure budget in 2006.

During the fourth quarter, the company's net income came to $18.4 million, or 68 cents per share, compared with $15.1 million, or 56 cents for year-ago period.

Weis' fourth-quarter sales were $601.9 million, as opposed to $537 million last year. The company's comparable-store sales, adjusted for the additional week in 2005, rose 4.7 percent during the quarter.

In a statement, Weiss said it "continues to benefit from profitable and sustained sales growth in its perishable departments and key center store categories." It added it continues "to see significant increases in its fuel, utility, and debit/credit card interchange costs."

Also during the meeting, Weis' board of directors increased the dividend one cent to $.29 per share, a 3.6 percent increase.

Weis operates 158 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. The company also owns and operates SuperPetz, a pet supply superstore chain with 31 locations in 10 states.
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