HARRIS TEETER TO STEP UP SPENDING

MATTHEWS, N.C. - Harris Teeter here said that it would spend more than $400 million in the next two years to accommodate an accelerated program of store openings, including 18 new stores set to open before the end of its current fiscal year in early November. ons, the company added.Overall square footage would expand by 12% in the current fiscal year, as opposed to an 8% total growth in fiscal 2005.

MATTHEWS, N.C. - Harris Teeter here said that it would spend more than $400 million in the next two years to accommodate an accelerated program of store openings, including 18 new stores set to open before the end of its current fiscal year in early November.

ons, the company added.

Overall square footage would expand by 12% in the current fiscal year, as opposed to an 8% total growth in fiscal 2005. The expense increases reflect an accelerated opening program and higher construction costs, and were made possible by improved operating performance and the company's financial position, the company said.

The announcement accompanied a report of a sales increase of 9.3% and comparable-store gains of 4.25% at Harris Teeter during the fiscal first quarter that ended Jan. 1. Operating profit increased 14.4% to $33.3 million in the quarter on sales of $716.1 million. The company said that targeted promotional spending programs sparked the increase in same-store sales.

Harris Teeter is a division of Ruddick Corp., which posted net income of $16.9 million, a 1.7% increase over the prior year. Sales increased 9.6% to $796.6 million.