SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Fresh Brands here said last week the acquisition of Dick's Supermarkets earlier in the year boosted sales to record levels for the third quarter and 40 weeks ended Oct. 6.
Sales in the company's retail division jumped 55.8% to $74.3 million for the quarter, with Dick's contributing $23.2 million, or 48.6%, the company said. Fresh Brands completed the acquisition of Dick's last June.
Sales in Fresh Brands' wholesale division rose 3.8% to $71.2 million for the quarter.
Net income declined 1.3% to $1.5 million for the quarter and 2.4% to $5.2 million for the year to date.
The company said gross margin rose to 19.5% in the quarter from 16.2% a year ago, reflecting a higher retail sales mix following the acquisition of Dick's.
According to Elwood F. Winn, president and chief executive officer, "The increases in retail and wholesale sales and improvement in gross margin are on track with our expectations, and we continue to work on gaining additional integration synergies.
"While our expenses increased during the past quarter, we continue to focus diligently on reducing costs and improving our operational results."
He said the company is "cautiously optimistic" about fourth-quarter results "in view of the uncertainties brought about by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack."
Winn said Fresh Brands plans to open two replacement corporate stores -- in Zion, Ill., in January and Kenosha, Wis., in the fall. It also plans to open an expanded franchise store in Mequon, Wis., in the spring and a new replacement franchise store in Howard, Wis., next fall.
In addition, he said the company plans to expand the freezer square footage in its warehouse here by approximately 50% to increase the mix of frozen foods and support future growth.