Weis' Q4 Sales, Comps Rise; Earnings Down

Weis Markets Inc. reported a 4 percent Q4 sales increase to $713.8 million, while its comparable-store sales grew a healthy 3.5 percent.

The Sunbury, Pa.-based regional retailer attributed the sales increases to the ongoing success of its pricing programs, which were fully implemented in the first quarter, and also noted strong sales growth in the pharmacy, HBC and fresh departments.

During the 13-week period ending Dec. 27, 2014, however, the company's earnings per share came to 51 cents, compared with 59 cents for the year-ago period, and its Q4 net income fell 11.6 percent to $13.9 million.

"One year ago, we spoke of our plans to recalibrate our go-to-market strategies and focus on increasing sales and market share," said Weis Markets President/CEO Jonathan Weis. "Over the past year, we steadily invested in our pricing programs and successfully executed our strategy, which has produced consistent sales increases in key center store and fresh departments. These investments helped us increase our market share and our customer count. We also improved our in-store customer experience and increased our customer service focus. As a result of our investments and customer service programs, we are well positioned to build on our success in 2015."

For the 52 weeks ending Dec. 27, 2014, the company’s sales rose 3.1 percent to $2.8 billion, and its comps edged up 2 percent. Weis' year-to-date earnings per share totaled $2.05 versus $2.67 in 2013, while its net income was $55.2 million, a 23.1 percent decline from last year.

In other Weis news, the grocer will begin offering online shopping with in-store pickup at its Camp Hill, Pa., store on Sunday, March 8. The Weis Online Shopping service enables customers to order online and pay through a secure PayPal system or at the store with curbside checkout. Customers can use their Weis Preferred Shopper's cards to save on orders and earn gas rewards, and can also browse the weekly online circular for sale items.

According to Weis COO Kurt Schertle: "Customers can place their orders at any time and schedule a convenient pickup time that suits their schedule. These orders can also be ready in four hours."

The service is now available at 24 locations.

Weis operates 163 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.

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