ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Ingles Markets here on Friday said store traffic continued to accelerate in the most recent fiscal quarter, driving sales gains despite a lower average ticket.
Net income for the three-month third quarter, which ended June 26, more than doubled, to $11.7 million, compared with $4.7 million in the year-ago third quarter. Comparable-store sales were up 0.8% in the quarter, excluding gasoline, propelled by a 7.9% gain in the number of transactions. The average transaction size, however, fell 7%. Total sales for the quarter were up 3.5%, to $856.1 million, vs. year-ago results.
“The trend in total and average transactions has followed this pattern for several recent quarters and is indicative of the effective economic recession on consumer spending,” said Ronald B. Freeman, chief financial officer, in a conference call with analysts. “That is more trips to the store but spending less on each trip.”
Sales increases are “broad-based across all product lines,” he added, with faster growth in private label and prepared foods “consistent with industrywide trends.”
Through three quarters, the company said net income fell 1.3% to $23.3 million, on a sales gain of 4.7%, to $2.53 billion. Comparable-store sales for the year-to-date period were up 0.9%, including a 10% increase in number of transactions and a 7.7% decrease in average transaction size, all excluding gasoline.
Ingles operates 202 supermarkets in the Southeast, vs. 201 at the end of the third quarter a year ago.