CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ruddick Corp. here, parent company of Harris Teeter, also here, said sales for the 142-store supermarket chain increased 7% and same-store sales rose 4.8% for the third quarter ended July 2.
The chain's operating profit for the 13-week quarter rose 14% to $11.8 million -- the result of increased sales and a more favorable product mix, the company said -- while operating profit for the nine months rose 17.9% to $32.3 million.
Harris Teeter sales rose 7% to $432 million for the quarter and 8.3% to $1.3 billion for the year to date. Besides the 4.8% same-store sales increase for the third quarter, the company reported a same-store sales hike of 6.9% for the nine-month period.
Lee Wilder, a securities analyst with the Atlanta office of Interstate/Johnson Lane here, said Harris Teeter's strong results "reflect the payback for a lot of investments in remodeling and replacements over the past couple of years, which have resulted in incremental increases in sales per transaction.
"While last year's same-store gains of 4% to 5% were the result of a switch to 24-hour operations, those gains are behind it now, and the numbers are truly a function of the store remodeling and enlargement program."
Ruddick said overall net earnings rose 22% to $11.3 million for the quarter and 30% to $29.9 million for the nine months, while total sales climbed 8% to $526 million for the quarter and 9% to $1.5 billion for the year to date.