INGLES EARNS RECORD PROFIT DESPITE FUEL, LABOR COSTS

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Ingles Markets here said last week the company had in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 earned the largest profit in its 37-year history, in spite of an economic environment featuring a tight labor market and increasing fuel costs..1%.During the year, Ingles opened four new and eight replacement stores, closed two stores and completed three major remodel/expansions and eight minor

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Ingles Markets here said last week the company had in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 earned the largest profit in its 37-year history, in spite of an economic environment featuring a tight labor market and increasing fuel costs.

.1%.

During the year, Ingles opened four new and eight replacement stores, closed two stores and completed three major remodel/expansions and eight minor remodels.

For the 14-week fourth quarter, sales increased 12.3% to $513.3 million. However, fourth quarter 2000 had one more week than fourth quarter 1999. With an adjustment for this difference, sales grew only 4.3% for the quarter.

In the same period, net income decreased 22.2% to $4.2 million, while comparable-store sales increased 3.8%.

Commented Robert P. Ingle, Ingles chairman and chief executive officer, "We are extremely pleased with our fiscal 2000 results. Our earnings for the year are the highest in our 37-year history. We continued our trend of increased sales and gross profits highlighted by strong comparable-store sales growth.

"We are challenged in controlling operating expenses due to the high cost of payroll in an extremely tight labor market, as well as from increased fuel costs and rising employee insurance costs.

"Looking forward, our team remains focused on growing our business and operating as efficiently as possible."