Ingles Markets generated gains in store traffic, average ticket and margins in its fiscal first quarter, indicating a successful holiday selling season.
The Asheville, N.C.-based operator of 200 stores in six Southeast states reported total sales of $1.1 billion, a 4.7% increase, in the period ending Dec. 29. Comparable store sales, excluding gasoline, improved by 3.9%, reflecting increases both in store traffic and average transaction size. Gross profits in the period totaled 24.3% of sales, up from 24.1% in last year’s first quarter.
Pretax income totaled $28.1 million, or 10.9% higher than last year. Net earnings of $22.2 million for the quarter were down from last year, primarily due to a noncash reduction in deferred tax expense associated with federal tax law that went into effect last year.
Capital expenditures totaled $71 million in the quarter, which included the acquisition of a shopping center where Ingles was leasing its store space. The company is anticipating total capital expenditures for the fiscal year to be between $140 million and $180 million.
“We had a successful first quarter and holiday season due to the dedication and hard work from all our associates,” Robert P. Ingle II, chairman of Ingles, said in a statement. “We also made significant investments in our company that will benefit many future periods.”