BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- Ingles Markets here said sales for the 13-week first quarter ended Dec. 27 increased 5.7% to $403 million. Same-store sales increased 0.12%.
Net income for the period declined 44% to $2.8 million, or 13 cents per share, compared with $5.0 million, or 24 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Although Ingles has entered into an agreement with Birmingham, Ala.-based Bruno's to acquire 13 Georgia units from that chain, those plans were put on hold this month when Bruno's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Ingles said under bankruptcy law, Bruno's has the right to assume or reject any contract that it entered into before the Chapter 11 filing. According to Ingles, Bruno's still intends to dispose of the stores, but needs bankruptcy court approval before the transaction can proceed.
Ingles has yet to announce whether it would operate the 13 stores as supermarkets, sell them to another operator, or lease them to a nonfood retailer.
Exclusive of the Bruno's stores, the company expects to spend $100 million to open seven new stores and expand, remodel or replace seven others, said Robert P. Ingle, chairman and chief executive officer.
Also in 1998, the company aims to reduce operating and administrative expenses while building sales volume through improved customer service, aggressive pricing and advertising and new and remodeled stores, Ingle said.