Weis Pegs $91M For Cap Ex Program

SUNBURY, Pa. -- Weis Markets based here is poised to invest $90.6 million into its capital expenditure program in 2006, to fund new stores and technology projects.

Details of the chain's cap ex plans were brought to light by Weis Markets' chairman Robert F. Weis and president and c.e.o. Norman S. Rich, at the company's annual shareholder meeting yesterday.

In addition to reviewing the year's results and providing additional details about the company's growth program, Weis told shareholders, "We hope to accelerate investment in our business in 2006 and beyond. Over the next twelve months, we plan to invest $90.6 million in our expansion and growth," which includes six superstores -- including four replacement units -- 15 additions, and 17 remodels. "All of these stores will reflect our new store design which we introduced in 2004. Since then we have refined this design and now include many of its features in our remodels and expansions."

The budget also includes the company's technology, distribution and manufacturing projects, which are anticipated to begin in 2006, subject to site considerations, construction challenges and local approval processes.

Weis president and c.e.o. Norman S. Rich said in 2005, sales increased 6 percent, same stores sales were up 4 percent and net income increased 11 percent.

"During a time of intense competition and change in our industry, we continued to grow our sales and profits while delivering strong returns to our shareholders," said Rich. He also noted that earlier this year, Weis increased its quarterly dividend 3.6 percent to $.29 per share and the annual rate of return on common stock in 2005 was 14 percent.

Rich briefed shareholders on the chain's new ad campaign, "Where Freshness Matters," which debuted in February. The campaign, which includes new-look electronic, print and in-store ad programs, highlights the company's continuing commitment to the quality and value of its perishables.

With 158 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia, Weis Markets also owns SuperPetz, a pet supply superstore chain with 31 locations in ten states.

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