SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Village Super Market here said yesterday that its customers appear to be trading down because of economic pressures, restraining same-store sales growth at the 25-unit ShopRite operator. In the third quarter, which ended April 26, Village said net income rose by about 0.5%, to $4.9 million, on a sales increase of 7.1%, to $273.4 million, vs. year-ago levels. Same-store sales were up 0.4%, with the remainder of the sales increase coming from the addition of two new stores. The company said sales gains from the closure of one competitive store and from food inflation were partially offset by cannibalization from the new stores, two competitive openings and “increased sale-item penetration and trading down as consumers appeared to be more cautious,” the company said. Year-to-date, net income was up 10%, to $15.7 million, on a sales gain of 6.8%, to $829.8 million. Same-store sales were up 2.1% for the nine-month span.
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