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Weis Markets Records Increased 4th Quarter Sales, Profits

SUNBURY, Pa. -- Strong performances in both perishables and core center store categories helped Weis Markets, Inc. here boost sales and net income for the fourth quarter.

The chain also yesterday posted sales and income growth in the low- to mid-single digits for the year ended Dec. 25.

For the quarter, sales increased 3.1 percent to $537 million, while comparable store sales in the same period were also up 3.1 percent. Besides sales gains in fresh and center store, Weis attributed its quarterly performance as well to aggressive targeted promotional activity in key markets, and a lower tax rate.

For the 13-weeks ended Dec. 25, Weis's net income rose 6.7 percent to $15.1 million, or 56 cents per share, from $14.1 million, or 52 cents per share a year ago. The company said the gains were partially offset by a 30 percent increase in medical insurance costs and a $1.1 million write-off for a former store site that was demolished and replaced in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The quarter saw Weis Markets' 14th consecutive quarterly increase in same store sales.

The reduction in the company's effective tax rate from 2003 to 2004 was due to a change in estimate related to the final settlement of certain income tax audits during 2004, which resulted in a $2.5 million increase in net income.

For the 52-week period, sales increased 2.7% to $2.1 billion, while same store sales increased 3.0 percent. The company's 2004 net income was up 4.8 percent to $57.2 million, and its basic and diluted earnings per share climbed $.10 to $2.11 per share.

Weis Markets operates 157 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia. The retailer also owns SuperPetz, a pet supply superstore chain with 33 units in eleven states.
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